Blogoversary (4 Years!) + Giveaway!

Happy blogoversary to meeee!

That’s right, The Road of a Writer is turning 4 YEARS OLD!

*confetti*

*fireworks*

So I’m celebrating by reminiscing, sharing some numbers and links, and giving away some fantasy novels!

It’s crazy to think it’s been so long since I started this li’l ol’ online way-post on the writing road… It’s been quite a journey, I’ve learned so much along the way, and I’ve definitely been enjoying it. It’s grown so much that I had to start a spinoff blog just for my reviewing and bookish posts! I love blogging. ^_^

Thanks so much to all of you for reading The Road of a Writer, commenting, encouraging, and generally putting up with my shenanigans — it means a lot! I’m supposed to be a writer, but in this case I don’t think there are words to say how I feel about you all… So. JUST — THANK YOU. ❤ *virtual hugs and cupcakes all around*

The Stats

(Look who wished me a happy blogoversary. XD)

  • 4 years
  • 250 posts (yes, last week‘s was my 250th!)
  • 470 followers (plus linked Twitter followers, hence the 789 number on the side; full disclosure. XD)
  • 5,562 comments
  • 10,328 visitors
  • 33,910 views
  • 9,043,930,894,038,098 hours spent trying to find the right gifs (okay, I exaggerate slightly… *cough*)

Top commenters of late (I think based on the last 1000 comments?):

Most popular posts I’ve posted:

Most-viewed posts from this year (after the ones above):

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Here are some of my favorite posts from the past four years…

CHARACTER INTERVIEWS, ETC.

ABOUT MY SERIES (because I’m nostalgic. XD)

ABOUT MY FAVORITE BOOKS

ABOUT WRITING

ABOUT NANOWRIMO ADVENTURES

SOME FAVORITE WRITINGS OF MINE

The Giveaway

In the tradition of Hobbit birthdays, wherein Hobbits on their birthday give away presents to other people, I’m giving away four books to my lovely followers to say THANK YOU for being amazing and putting up with my shenanigans. 🙂 I’d like to share the love on some of my favorite fantasy novels, which is why I’ve chosen these to give away.

What I am giving away:

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (paperback; US)
  • The Bone House by Stephen R. Lawhead (paperback; US)
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (paperback; US)
  • Mossflower by Brian Jacques (paperback; US)

And alternate giveaway to enter internationally:

  • The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz (ebook; International)

Notes on each of these:

  • I do not entirely approve of the Hobbit movies, but I love this cover of The Hobbit all the same. XD If you’re not fortunate enough to have read this book yet, or don’t own a copy of your own, do enter this one! Or, ya know, if you already have a copy and want to give one as a gift to a friend/niece/nephew/neighbor/anybody — still enter! 😉
  • The Bone House is book 2 in the Bright Empires series, and I DO NOT recommend reading it unless you have read book 1, The Skin Map; but feel free to enter this one if you’ve read the first book and haven’t gotten around to the second yet (or, ya know, promise to get the first one and read it first. XD) — it’s one of my favorites! ^_^
  • The Book of Three is book 1 in the Prydain Chronicles; HIGHLY recommend; this is an ex-library book donated to Salvation Army, so it’s a readable copy and in good shape but with stickers/markings/etc.
  • Mossflower is a “prequel” to Redwall, but can stand alone, and it’s my favorite of the Redwall books. ❤
  • The paperback giveaway is for US residents only — sorry international peeps! I love you all the same! And to prove it, I also am giving away an ebook copy of The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz, so this one is open internationally!

You can enter via the form below — and you can pick which of the giveaways you would like to enter, so if you already have one or more of these, or for some reason do not wish to enter some of them, you can easily pick which one(s) you’d like to enter.

Details: Five winners — one for each book. Paperback giveaway open to US addresses only. Ebook giveaway open Internationally. (I’ve never tried giving away an ebook internationally so HOPEFULLY it will work…) Giveaways are open Monday, September 11 – Sunday, September 17, 2017. Winners will be listed here as an “EDIT” and also contacted by email, on Monday, September 18. So check back on this post on that day to see the winners!

EDIT: The winners have been chosen and contacted! Thanks so much to everyone who entered. 🙂

  • Winner of The Hobbit: Maddy
  • Winner of The Bone House: Savannah Grace
  • Winner of The Book of Three: Florid Sword
  • Winner of Mossflower: Emily Drown
  • Winner of The Beast of Talesend ebook: Skye

Thanks so much for coming with me all this way, my dearest Roadlings! ❤ You’re legit the best! ^_^ *group hug*

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Tare Turns 5 Years Old

(Kedran’s Wood collage I made. Some images belong to me, others were found on Pinterest, here.)

Some of you are probably squinting at the title of this post, going: “…Wait, what??”

(Especially since, as those three or so people reading this who have beta-read some of the books would know, Tare’s actual age is so confusing in the story itself that he doesn’t need any more confusingness added on.)

(For anyone who is further confused due to not knowing: Tare is the name of my favorite character I’ve ever written [sorry, all you other characters] and he inhabits the contemporary fantasy series I’m writing.)

Let me set you straight.

No, it’s not actually Tare’s birthday (which is in January).

No, this post is not actually about an adorable Tare when he was a small boy (apologies).

But a week ago, on April 5, 2017, it was in fact the 5-year anniversary of the day I first started writing the book in which I first met Tare, the first book in the Kedran’s Wood series, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood!

Yes indeed, it’s KW1’s book birthday!

Here, have a cupcake to celebrate:

Today’s post is a conglomeration of random things about the series, including the first book, and basically just A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS KEDRAN’S-WOOD-ISH!

How it Began

It began with the forging of the great rings…

…Whoops, wrong story. How about this?

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.

Wait, wrong one again. How about this one:

In an abandoned apartment down a dark alley there lived a Tare?

Closer.

Ahem.

Anyways, it actually began in early 2012 when I “randomly” started writing what I thought would be a fun standalone novella or short novel called The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. I wanted to try a little modern fantasy story and just… started writing. I knew a few things about the story, but for the most part, I was as in the dark as my main characters, the Chess Club. It was a first for me in many ways. I hadn’t done a lot of “pantsing” stories before, and it was also my first modern story.

I never thought I would write a modern story. Contemporary books were never my thing, and I think it’s because I don’t enjoy the kinds of things that modern books can rarely seem to resist including, like school and its petty backstabbing and bullying and drama (ugh), annoying teen characters who don’t get along and have family life problems, and love-triangles… etc., and just general ick. Many modern books just seemed petty to me and I always enjoyed fantasy worlds instead.

So the idea that I would write a fantasy book in *gasp* modern times? Unheard of!

But it happened.

I started writing a modern fantasy book, and ended up writing it (unintentionally) in direct opposition to all the problems I’d had with other modern fiction. I made it a book that I wouldn’t mind reading myself. On the way, I completely fell in love with this cast of characters — the Chess Club became more than friends, they became MY friends, and Tare became my favorite character I’ve written (so far). It also turned out to be 100K words. So much for “short.” XD

From being a one-time random story I thought I would finish and move on from, it wrapped itself around my heart and turned into a series which, five years later, I’m still working on writing, and foresee being happily involved in scribbling for many more years to come. ^_^

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about this particular book in the series (since it’s been awhile since I finished it) so, in celebration of its birthday, let me direct you to a handy new summary I wrote for it recently.

The Owl of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, Book 1)
by Deborah O’Carroll

Welcome to the town by Kedran’s Wood

  • Where teenaged best friends (but not, y’know, the angsty kind) don’t need to backstab each other (though they might the recent outbreak of monsters).
  • Where it’s not about life in highschool (because who wants to spend more time there than necessary?) but about life outside it.
  • And where the local chess club (see best friends) does more than just play chess . . .

Meet shy Lavender, rambunctious Baz, fiery Ivy, confident Adrian, and wry Mr. Larch. Oh, and Small Occasion (who is tiny, white, and fluffy, and barks like a tree).

This book is about how they play (badly) at being over-reacting amateur detectives more often than at chess; fight monsters (with some—okay, lots of—help from the resident leather-clad stranger); and still find time for friendships old and new, and small occasions like summer lemonade and puns (yes, that last one is always Baz’s fault).

But mostly it’s about the mysterious young man called Tare (see resident leather-clad stranger), how the Chess Club meets him (though whether that’s a terrific or terrible thing is part of the question—Baz would say both, if only for the puns), and how just at the edge of an ordinary small modern town, lies Kedran’s Wood . . .

And that’s where the pieces are beginning to move for a game that’s far from a friendly match of chess.

Books in the Kedran’s Wood Series

and a little bit about them

Novels

  • 1 The Owl of Kedran’s Wood — the summer when Tare and the Chess Club meet, featuring cake-baking disasters and the (almost) end of the world (#awkward). Status: draft written.
  • 2 The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — wintry novel, current work in progress, featuring mysterious villains and (possibly) an evil faerie. Status: 1/3 done? Hopefully more?
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood — featuring summer vacation, more about Tare, and of course secret agents. Status: snippets.

Novellas (to write)

  • 1.5 Son of Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare does stuff between 1 &2, + prequel about his past (yay!)
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare and Adrian accidentally switch minds/bodies (because that won’t be confusing at all…)
  • 3.5 Celebrations at Kedran’s Wood — in which there is a birthday party and a wedding (no, I’m not telling you whose)

Bonus Novel (to write)

  • The Quest of Kedran’s Wood — in which Marie undertakes something NaNo-ish and writes an epic fantasy book starring the chess club and Tare in medieval roles. And reads it aloud to them. (What could possibly go wrong?)

Number of KW words written so far

According to one calculation:

190,780 words

  • (105K book 1 current finished draft)
  • (65K book 2 current + 10K snippets out of order later in book 2)
  • (10K snippets total from book 3, 1.5, 2.5, and bonus)

That averages out to approximately 104 words of Kedran’s Wood writing per day for 5 years. XD (Not counting previous versions or plotting, of course.)

#WIPjoy

In celebration of my Kedran’s Wood series turning 5 years old, and in an effort to get myself immersed again in the writing of KW2, I’m doing #WIPjoy on Twitter all this month, featuring The Secret of Kedran’s Wood!

For those who don’t know #WIPjoy is to celebrate and answer questions about your work-in-progress (WIP), with a different question for every day of the month.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, check it out! …For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, where have you been?? (Just kidding. 😉 I will excuse you if you don’t have Twitter. XD Ahem.)

It’s been a blast so far!

Tare is an INTJ (surprise)

Yes, I took the MBTI test as Tare (or rather, as Tare IS, not how he would answer, because I’m 99% sure he wouldn’t want a random test knowing things about him so he’d likely be less than truthful in that case) and he came out as INTJ, which is the category most villains and awesome dark people like Mr. Darcy and Batman and Sherlock tend to fit into. Yes, I was monstrously pleased at this. XD It’s creepy how well he fits it, too…

(He’s not shy but he’s definitely not a people person. I love that he’s 80% introverted. XD)

Tare is the only character I’ve taken the test for, since he’s the only one I know well enough.

Some posts about the series

This seemed like a fun time to highlight some favorite posts in the past about the Kedran’s Wood series or (usually) Tare.

And there you have it!

This concludes my reminiscing about this unlikely but beloved series of mine. (Now to just finish writing it and get it published, amIright?? Ahem. That may be far down the road, but it’s an eventual goal. ;))

What most intrigues you about this series, or what was your favorite part of this post? Thank you so much for putting up with me flailing about this stuff (and reading this post), and celebrating with me the 5-year birthday of this series! ^_^

Lord of the Rings Celebration!

LotR62

Mae Govannen once again, my Middle-earth-ish friends!

Today, July 29th, marks the 62nd anniversary of The Lord of the Rings (specifically The Fellowship of the Ring) being published for the first time in 1954!

So I am here today, following the wrap-up of the first ever Silmarillion Awards, to celebrate all things Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, and Middle-earth, as I wish “Happy Birthday!!” to my favorite book of all time. ❤

I don’t have any actual cake, but virtual cake in the form of Bilbo’s 111th birthday cake will do nicely in its place.

I celebrated today by pulling out all my Tolkien books and photographing them, and I’m typing this while listening to the gorgeous soundtracks of The Lord of the Rings films…

Turns out I have a lot more Tolkien books than I thought. I . . . may have a small obsession. *cough*

TolkienBooksJuly2016

What can I say — I go to a lot of library sales and I’ve been getting Tolkien-related things every year for birthdays and Christmases for the last ten years… So apparently that can add up. 😉

There are also the films, soundtracks, and audiobook versions floating around the house somewhere, also much beloved.

Me & Middle-earth

I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I first read The Hobbit, but I know I greatly enjoyed it at that young age . . . But I do remember, some time later, first reading The Lord of the Rings. I was 10, and we were listening to the audiobook versions. That was the first time I remember really entering Middle-earth . . . and I think a little part of me (okay, at times a much larger part) has been living there ever since.

After that, I reread The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from time to time, I devoured The Silmarillion a few times, and started collecting and reading all the other Tolkien books I could get my hands on (as I said, my birthday/Christmas wishlists were usually full of them, as were the paper bags I carted home from library book sales). I still have many Tolkien books (for instance the rest of the History of Middle-earth series that Christopher Tolkien put together) that I haven’t finished reading yet, but that only makes me happy to think of more in store to discover.

To call myself addicted to Middle-earth would be a large understatement . . . For a few years there when I had just gotten really into Lord of the Rings, I was a Tolkien hobbyist, and still am to some extent. I did lots of Elvish calligraphy in Tengwar (the Elvish alphabets Tolkien developed), memorized poetry from the books and wrote them out in journals, made large posters of the complicated genealogies of Elves and Men from the First to Third Ages . . . Yep, I was a little addicted, you could say.

I also vividly remember the first time I saw the Lord of the Rings movies, specifically The Fellowship of the Ring. I was visiting relatives, not so long after having read the books for the first time, which I was already in love with. I vaguely knew there were films but hadn’t seen them yet. I remember the excitement of gathering late at night with cousins and staying up to watch The Fellowship of the Ring. I came in after the movie had already started, so I incidentally missed out on the prologue and the quiet green Shire parts, coming in right when Gandalf has just ridden off to find answers and the camera pans past Sauron’s tower of Barad-dur in the dark with scary epic music — naturally nervous ten-year-old me would come in at a terrifying part. 😉 The movie fascinated me, and I remember the next day I got to go back and watch the beginning, which I had missed, all by myself, with the Shire and the prologue and everything, and it was delicious.

I have a few quibbles with the movies which I will not forgive them for (Faramir; Frodo sending Sam away; the general de-noble-ifying of many characters like Aragorn… a few things like that) but on the whole I still love them. Especially the music, which captures the feel of Middle-earth marvelously, I think.

But nothing can ever touch the original books as Tolkien penned them. ❤ The Lord of the Rings is one of those things at the core of my being. It has been an enormous part of my life so far (and will certainly continue to be!), and I can’t imagine life without it. I’m so grateful to J. R. R. Tolkien for giving us that glimpse into Middle-earth which I will always treasure.

Happy 62nd birthday to The Lord of the Rings!

*cue chorus of hobbit “happy birthday’s!” from Bilbo’s party*

LordOfTheRings

(Editions with the covers drawn by J.R.R. Tolkien, and maps from “The Maps Tolkien’s of Middle-earth” drawn by John Howe)

#SilmAwards2016 wrapup

silmarillionawards2016And here, with this birthday post for my favorite book, I’d also like to look back at the last several weeks of the first ever Silmarillion Awards, because I don’t know about you, but I definitely had a blast with them!

Many thanks to DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt for creating and organizing this fun event, and to all the other hosts for your splendid posts, and everyone who participated through nominating, voting, or commenting — you are all awesome! I had such a good time celebrating fantasy, beloved characters, and Tolkien’s works. 🙂

silmaril-strangest-award-mediumIf you haven’t seen all the award ceremony posts — where ten of Tolkien’s characters present the awards to the top-voted contestants of this year’s awards — do hurry and check them out because they’re all so much fun! 🙂

Awards and their presenters:

Best Fantasy Weapon (presented by Arwen) | Most Epic Hero (pres. by Aragorn) | Most Nefarious Villain (pres. by Saruman, Gollum, & Sauron) | Best Redemption Story (pres. by Boromir) | Best Fantasy Mount (pres. by Eomer) | Riddling and Poetry (pres. by Bilbo) | Wisest Councellor (pres. by Gandalf) | Strangest Character (pres. by Tom Bombadil) | Most Faithful Friend (pres. by Sam Gamgee) | Most Heart Wrenching Death Scene (pres. by Thorin)

LOTR party posts

And don’t forget — you can post your own celebratory post for The Lord of the Rings’ birthday today (or through the weekend) and share the link in the link-up at the end of this post of Jenelle’s so we can all see it! (And if you post on social media, use the hashtag #SilmAwards2016 for this LOTR birthday celebration wrapup!)

Be sure to check out the other LOTR celebration posts listed there because they’re all fantastic! (No pun intended. ;))

Happy Lord of the Rings Day to you all!

P.S. (Because Gandalf made them notorious with his multiple post-scripts.) Aaand now I’m tempted to leave my Tolkien books stacked in the corner of my room like that because they look nice there. Who needs a nightstand anyway — pfft. ;))

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began . . .

March Ishness

Greetings, dearest bloglings!! (Is that a word…? Pft, if not, we shall make it one!) I have missed y’all! ❤

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t been around here much this last month… I’ve been trying to step back from the internet a bit in order to get some stuff done. So here I am with a bit of a March overview!

Here’s some of the ishness I’ve been up to of late.

For one thing, I had a birthday (I’m old now…), and I also “celebrated” my 8-year Writing Anniversary. In other words, the anniversary of the day I decided I was going to finish my first book and be a writer. (I once told that story here.)

Other than that, I’ve been . . .

Getting excited about these books coming out:

MarchReleases
England Adventure, Heidel, and Out of Darkness Rising

And also The Penderwicks in Spring — which I have on hold at the library and am dying to read as well! So many awesome books came out in March! I’m going to devour them as soon as I can. ❤ Speaking of which…

Reading

March2015books
see my Goodreads Reading Challenge

I finally finished reading Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series! Sooo fun! And Chrestomanci himself is the BEST. ❤ The Pinhoe Egg, which wrapped up the series perfectly, may be my favorite book of the year so far! *flail*

Though Frederica and the book I’m editing are up there too… 😉

ChrestomanciSeries

Editing

I did a whole lot of work on editing my friend’s lovely book… Not quite done that, but I’m this close to finishing! It’s so exciting to see it coming together! ❤

Writing

Not much on the writing front in March… I’m a little burnt-out, methinks, and have been stepping back from that a bit as well, giving it a rest. That said, I did get a little bit of writing done, and a bunch of plotting.

I wrote nearly 2,000 words of snippets, some for my Kedran’s Wood series, but mostly for my latest story idea, which is still haunting me and refusing to leave.

I also did a bunch of brainstorming on that one (because the characters are insisting they’re all messed up and broken so they made me write out backstories and relationships and I’m like GUYS THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A LIGHTHEARTED THING. SERIOUSLY. *headdesk*), as well as for a possible candidate for this year’s NaNo — a Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling!

And my contemporary-fantasy Kedran’s Wood series decided to inform me that instead of having only 3 books, as it did in February, it now has 4, plus a prequel, plus a couple of short stories between the books. Oh yeah. That’s a thing that happened…

***

Plans for April

Sooo… what’s up for this month?

Well, for one thing, I’m not doing Camp NaNo. That may come as a shock to some (I did both Camps last year and the year before, after all, and have been doing the November one every year for 5 years…).

I kind of really want to do Camp, especially when so many lovely friends of mine are doing it this time, but… I really feel like I need to step back from writing challenges for a bit, and try to rediscover writing because I WANT to write, not because some graph somewhere or some challenge I committed to says I SHOULD. I absolutely love NaNo, and Camp NaNo has helped me to write several things I’ve loved getting into, but I decided not to do it this time.

For those of you who are doing Camp NaNo, though — AWESOME! Best of luck! Write on, intrepid writers/campers! You can do this!!!

Anyway, I’m not making many plans this month… I’m going to finish my editing and then see what else happens. So to be honest, I don’t know what April’s going to look like.

…Though I have hopes that some of it will look like this. 😉

BedstandBooksApril
All the yummy books I want to devour!

***

How about you?

How was your March? Do you have plans for April?

Are you doing Camp NaNo (and why/why not?)?

I want to hear! Share all in the comments!! 🙂

Blogoversary!

That’s right, y’all! Today’s the blogoversary of The Road of a Writer! 😀

I. am. excited. Blogging for a whole year! *happy dance*

Blogoversary

A year ago today, on September 9, 2013, I created my blog. I had been planning to start it, so naturally on that day our internet went down… 😛 But I ended up in town, got some wifi, and that night I set my blog up. I had been planning the moment for a long time but it was still surreal…

I didn’t manage to get my first post up till our internet returned a couple days later (so I guess in another way my blogoversary is the 11th…), but when I went home that night on September 9th last year, I knew my dream of a blog, The Road of a Writer, had at last come true.

It has been a thrilling journey, and I’ve enjoyed stepping into the blogosphere, and look forward to another year!

But most of all I want to say THANKS. I wouldn’t be blogging if people didn’t read my blog (okay, maybe I would; but it would be much less interesting. ;)).

In the last year:

40 posts (41 once I post this…)

125 followers (I love you all!)

374 comments

2447 hits

A very big THANK YOU to my readers!

That’s you.

You reading this.

Thank you.

Thanks for taking time to drop by and read a post, or following me, or leaving a comment. (I try to reply to each and every one, and believe me, they really do make my day. ❤ )

I’m just so honored that anyone would be interested enough in anything I would have to say to take the time to read it!

THANK YOU SO MUCH. Hugs all around! ^_^

So.

Question!

What sort of posts would you like to see around here in my second year of blogging?

More writerly posts, more reviews (I’m working on setting up a review blog where I might do more reviewing in the future), more character interviews, tags/question answering, snippets, rambling about my books, random posts about randomness and what’s up with me… Or any other ideas?

I’d love to hear if you have any thoughts, opinions, suggestions!

I’m very much looking forward to the next year of blogging, and what it might bring… 🙂