Ishness of a February Variety

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Good day! Time for another round of Ishness… 🙂

LIFE

I’ll get to the writing/reading/etc. categories in a little while, but first, I actually had quite a lot going on the “life” front during February, which is odd for me. 😉

The main thing that happened was halfway through the month I injured my back, which has accounted for my trying to be on the computer/internet less since it seems to do better when I’m not doing that. If I’ve been somewhat less active on the interwebs of late, that would be why.

It’s funny how we take things like moving for granted! I’m very thankful now to be able to move. For a couple of days there I could hardly get around at all and hobbled around with a cane and everything — I felt exactly like Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, suddenly old! XD (Howl’s Moving Castle makes everything better, including hurt backs and colds. ;)) So if you can move around, remember what a blessing it is, okay? I’m already forgetting and need to try to remember. It’s so good to be able to move! 🙂

It’s been a very interesting experience, and made me slow down and think, which is always a good thing in this hectic life we lead, always dashing about with to-do lists and not stopping to breathe.

But it’s made me realize I need to re-prioritize my life and put health/exercise/looking after myself first. I can’t just live on my computer, apparently, since that’s largely what made me hurt my back.

I’ve been reading some books by a fellow named Pete Egoscue, on using certain stretches and exercises to end chronic pain without drugs or surgery and fix the musculoskeletal system. He makes a very compelling case for many of the health problems and chronic pain going on today being due to a sort of alignment dysfunction of the human body brought on by a lack of varied motion, in this “civilized” world that doesn’t require us to move. It may sound odd but it makes a TON of sense.

I’m still reading through them, but I can’t recommend his books highly enough. Pete Egoscue is AMAZING. The exercises in his book Pain Free got me back on my feet quickly, and I only had a couple of days of extreme pain. Between his books and exercises, prayer, and an amazing family looking after me, as well as a good deal of patience (NOT my strong point… it’s been interesting) I’m happy to say I’m nearly normal again. Yay!

I don’t usually talk about “real”, “important” subjects on my blog, like health and opinions and things, striving usually to just stay on the happy/safe end of the spectrum with things like books and writing and music and movies. But pain is a serious thing, a serious motivator, and I’m quite blown away by Pete Egoscue’s books and simply had to tell the world about them. I’m still doing the exercises for my back, but hope to eventually move on to ones that are supposed to “fix” the structural alignment and help provide a life of motion to prevent future injuries/chronic pain of this kind.

It’s going to be a journey, and one that I know many people (including myself) feel they don’t have time for. But I don’t have time to stop my life for a week due to pain, either. I may say more on this in the future, but in the meantime, I highly recommend his books Pain Free (which I haven’t finished reading), and Pain Free at Your PC (which I read in its entirety since, after all, for a couple days there I couldn’t do much besides lie in bed and read… my back was helpful like that. ;)).

But it wasn’t all bad, this month of February! I also managed to do some fun things, even after the whole back fiasco, which I’m super thankful for being better enough to do.

For one thing, I made it to a library booksale, which is always fun, and found a smallish stack of books.

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And I had the chance to go to a writer’s workshop held by Christian YA Fantasy/Thriller author Jamie Foley, speaking on writing, self-publishing, marketing, etc. It was extremely fascinating and Jamie herself was super sweet, funny, and informative.

WRITING

KW2coverPI was supposed to get back into writing during February, after my month off from writing in January… But this month arrived and I realized I had no idea where to START. I was trying to decide what story to work on and consequently got hardly anything done, just editing a couple chapters of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

Then with the whole back thing and suddenly spending a bare minimum of time on the computer, writing just suddenly wasn’t a priority anymore, and I gave myself permission to relax on that front as well.

OHEcoverWith the consequence that, since computer time was precious, I actually got around to starting The Other Half of Everything! I’ve written snippets before (over 6K words of them…) but hadn’t officially “started” it with an opening and everything. So I did that. Which is most exciting! Even if it was only 400 words, at least I “started” it! ^_^

But what with everything else going on, a couple of edited chapters and a page of OHE is something to be proud of, so I’m pretty happy with the pitifully small amount of writing I got done in February. 😛

INTERVIEWED

The last day of February (I told you it was for leaping!) I was interviewed by Heidi Peterson! Some fascinating questions there that I had a ton of fun answering — check it out if you haven’t. 🙂

READING

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I read 12 books in February… quite an odd bunch, as you can see!

I was thrilled to find the Jackaby books at my library, and read them both, plus the free Kindle novella, all in a week… I’m rather addicted, and very excited about the next book, coming in August — which just had the cover revealed! *flails*

Also, can I take a moment to say: R. F. Jackaby himself TALKED TO ME ON TWITTER. *dies of fangirl feels overload* (Yes, he’s on Twitter. Yes, this is the coolest thing I’ve heard in a long time.)

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It was the best thing EVER.

I also took part in the Fantasy Love February Reading Challenge held by Grace Mullins @ Fictionally (and she just won a place in the Five Magic Spindles collection! Yay! :)) so it was fun to read some more fantasy for a change, even if I didn’t get to everything I planned to read.

And, as I mentioned, Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue, which is amazing.

I should have another Reading Roundup over on my book blog soonish, talking about all the books… Speaking of which…

ON MY BOOK BLOG IN FEBRUARY

LISTENING TO…

Blessings” by Laura Story. (And, to be honest, still Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey. What can I say. The obsession runs deep. I adore it. <3) Both have been apt for this chapter in my life. Sometimes life has clouds and it’s hard to keep going when it’s hard to remember that there are sunbeams… somewhere…

(There were also large amounts of Silly Wizard music consumed and re-consumed on Youtube, but that’s not unusual…)

WATCHING

Occasional episodes of Jeeves & Wooster, since I found a few at the library sale. So much fun! (I still love P.G. Wodehouse’s books better, but the episodes are quite different and still hilarious, in a different sort of way.) Bertie and Jeeves are a great pair and their actors are just perfectly hilarious together.

AROUND THE INTERNET

I haven’t had this category before, and I don’t know how good I’ll be at keeping up with it in the future, but here are a few things that went on or are going on around the internet recently or soonish.

MARCH PLANS

I… don’t really know what my March plans are. Aside from a few books to read for beta or review, which looks to keep me busy, nothing else is set in stone… I hope to do some writing of some kind, but we’ll see what happens. I’d love to read some Diana Wynne Jones books but might be too busy… I may try to keep my computer time down, and I’ll be trying to figure out a new outlook on life involving exercise and actually taking care of myself — novel concept, right? 😉

I’ll also be attempting to survive Daylight Savings Time this week. …Ahem.

How was your February and what are your March plans? 🙂

I’ll just leave you with this. XD

Interviewed!

I’ve been interviewed over on the blog of Jenelle Schmidt (author of Stone Curse in the Five Enchanted Roses collection) for a Featured Artist Friday!

This is the first time I’ve been interviewed… Allow me to flail a little in excitement!!!

Do hop on over and give it a read! 🙂

http://jenelleschmidt.com/featured-artist-friday-deborah-ocarroll/

(Especially if you’d like to see the cover I made for my latest work-in-progress, The Siren and the Skyship, and to read the summary for it. You know you want to.)

And also check out the rest of Jenelle’s blog, because it is wonderful! ❤

A Cinderella-ish Interview & Giveaway

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Today I’m joining in on the blog tour celebrating the release (yesterday!) of the Cinderella novella A Dream Not Imagined — which I reviewed recently. As I may have said before… who doesn’t love a good retelling? 😉

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Be sure to check out the other posts running through the weekend — and remember to enter the giveaway below!!

But first, I’m excited to have the lovely authoress herself over on my blog to answer some mostly Cinderella-themed questions!

Enjoy!

Interview with Shantelle Mary Hannu

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1. What do you like most about the story of Cinderella?

Hmm, the idea of a getting a gorgeous gown and fancy dancing slippers is such fun! 😀 And also, I just really like the thought of this orphan girl—hurt, belittled, and having lost all those she loved—who finds a beautiful love story despite the odds! ❤

2. Do you have a favorite retelling in book form?

Only one?? 😉 I think I’d have to say Entwined by Heather Dixon. It was quite creepy at some points, but I just ADORED all the dancing, the precious little sisters, the totally sweet romance, the magic tea set . . . It’s for sure my favorite retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses!

Others I have to mention: The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson, Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton, Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey, and The Seahorse Legacy by Serena Chase.

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3. How about favorite Cinderella film?

Totally Cinderella [2015]. I LOVED it!! ^__^ Such gorgeousness!! So lovely and sweet! An absolutely beautiful remaking of the original tale!

4. What is your favorite element in the classic Cinderella tale? (The slipper, romance, carriage, rags-to-riches…?)

A rags-to-riches is always an interesting thing to read of . . . But it can bring trouble too; like Miss Prudence. Lol! Wasn’t that her name? The strict lady who drove poor Cinderella crazy! :p

I love the glass slipper part of the story actually. Something about the prince picking up her dainty little shoe. ^_^

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5. Who is your favorite character in the Cinderella story, and who’s your favorite in your version, A Dream Not Imagined?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Anastasia, after watching Cinderella II. So her, Cinderella, or Gus. 😀

In my version . . . I do particularly like Ellie, of course! And my “fairy godmother” also endeared herself to me.

6. You wrote it originally for Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s fairytale contest, but aside from that, what caused you to write a retelling of your own? Where did the idea come from/what was your inspiration?

Fairytales are one of my favorite things to read ever. I’m just captivated by them. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves . . . *hugs them all* The plots are just so neat that I want to try create my own retellings, I suppose. I would like to write a whole collection of fairy tale retellings! ^__^

Inspiration for A Dream Not Imagined? I’m not really sure. I had some ideas jotted down prior to finding out about Anne Elisabeth’s contest, but I think most of those changed, haha! I just started writing, and it all came! 🙂

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7. Do you have a favorite theme/scene/part in your story A Dream Not Imagined?

The bits about dancing are a favorite. The Epilogue gives me a soft, happy feeling. I quite like my theme sort of about surrendering . . . probably because it’s a lesson I’m learning in my own life. 😀

8. Do you have pictures and/or actors in mind to “play” the parts of the major characters in A Dream Not Imagined?

I do!! ^__^ Visit the first post for this blog tour. Or my Pinterest board for A Dream Not Imagined.

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9. Do you have any tips for writers who would like to try their hand at a fairy tale retelling?

Follow the classic storyline, or make all kinds of exciting changes . . .  either way will be amazing I think! There’s so much potential! Just read or watch the classic story, and then start writing. 😀

10. And (be honest, now — Cinderella-themed questions aside…) what’s your favorite fairytale? 😉

Um . . .  do I have to? ;D I don’t think I can pick a favorite, I just . . . can’t. My top three favorites would probably be The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Little Mermaid, and Rapunzel.

Thanks for joining us, Shantelle! ^_^

About the Book

A Dream Not Imagined CoverA MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret…

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after. But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince. In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Now available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon!

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About the Author

KODAK Digital Still CameraShantelle Mary Hannu was born in the mountainous west, spending her golden childhood years there. Since then, she has relocated time and again with her parents and seven siblings, making cherished memories in both the South and Central United States.

A Christian homeschool graduate, Shantelle has a passion for writing and all things books. From a young age she’s been penning tales with a hope of sharing with the world adventurous and soul-stirring stories that bring glory to God.

A Dream Not Imagined, a fairytale novella, is her first published book. She’s currently preparing a full-length fantasy novel for publication as well, and working on its sequel.

Shantelle blogs at A Writer’s Heart about her stories, favorite books and movies (with reviews), healthy wheat-free recipes, and hosts fellow authors, among other things. One of her joys is connecting with fellow writers and readers! You can also find her on:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

*****Giveaway!*****

Enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a kindle copy of A Dream Not Imagined and a $5 Amazon giftcard!

One winner will be chosen May 31st, and the kindle book and gift card will be sent to their email.

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But wait, there’s more!

Because I so enjoyed A Dream Not Imagined, I’m offering a giveaway of my own!

As well as the official rafflecopter giveaway for the blog tour, I am also going to give away a kindle ebook copy of A Dream Not Imagined to one random commenter here on this blog!

So comment away, and a random commenter will be chosen Monday June 1st and I will announce the winner and email them.

So, readers: A question for you! Answer for my personal giveaway:

What’s your favorite Cinderella retelling?

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England Adventure & Interview With Kelsey Bryant

Today is a day I’ve quite been looking forward to for a good while — it’s the release date for a new novel from a good friend and talented authoress, Kelsey Bryant!

I’m excited to share with you a little about the book, and honored to have the author over on my blog for an interview! 🙂 Kelsey’s one of the sweetest people I know and I’ve been watching the book’s journey to publication for awhile now… So this is a very exciting day! Be sure to check out her lovely blog, and another interview with her in honor of England Adventure‘s release!

So, let’s get this party going!

RSCN0847Bio: Kelsey Bryant is a homeschool graduate from Central Texas. Books have been a part of her family for generations. Ever since she can remember, Kelsey has been writing stories and dreaming of the magical moment when her books would join the ranks. She draws inspiration from the Greatest Story Ever Told, which culminates in the Messiah’s salvation offered to every person. Her life would be meaningless without her relationship with Yeshua (Jesus). She’s also inspired by the classics, especially the works of her favorite authors Jane Austen, L. M. Montgomery, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Louisa May Alcott. She loves history and even her contemporary fiction has a historical bent.

England Adventure

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England Adventure (Six Cousins, book 2) by Kelsey Bryant

Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Marielle has dreamed of seeing England in person. When kind grandparents send her and her cousins there to visit old friends, she can hardly wait to see the places she’s known in fiction and film. The Endicotts are perfect hosts—and their worldly American granddaughter Paris, perfectly beautiful.

But it soon turns out that nothing is as it seems. Her cousins Abby and Reanna, once the best of friends, appear deeply at odds, and the picture-perfect Endicott family is hiding secrets of its own. Distanced by an ocean from home and her family’s protection, Marielle finds herself challenged by a troubling new world. She befriends Paris, but Paris seems opposed to what Marielle stands for. Can Marielle be the witness who helps Paris overcome the lifestyle that’s harming her? Or will Marielle and her cousins be overwhelmed by the conflict this supposed dream trip has brought them?

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My Mini-Review

England Adventure, book 2 in the Six Cousins series, is the sequel to Family Reunion, but I think it stands on its own quite well.

I had the privilege of reading along with the book before its publication. It’s quite a delightful, sweet story, with some good messages and gorgeous scenery (and no wonder, as it’s set in England, and Kelsey Bryant has an extraordinary talent regarding description — such poetry!), plus a memorable cast… I’m beyond amazed at how well the author manages to differentiate between 7 teenaged girls in this book! Their personalities were so well-crafted for me to tell them apart and follow their stories. My favorite is quiet Reanna — and another character, English and grandfatherly Mr. Endicott, of course! 😉

The story was enjoyable, the characters a delight, the descriptions gorgeous, and at one point I found myself near tears at a beautiful part of the spiritual journey in this Christian contemporary YA novel, steeped in a historical feel. I felt like I was visiting England myself!

For the rest, you’ll have to read it for yourself… I know I, for one, can’t wait to get my hands on a real-live copy of England Adventure and settle down for a quiet read of the final version! 🙂

Interview with Kelsey Bryant

1. Did the experience of going to England yourself after writing England Adventure help enrich the story?

It definitely enriched it for me personally. I felt like I was in my story, to some extent, which is one of the best sensations a writer can have. 🙂 It also made me wish I could fit more of my experiences into England Adventure. But surprisingly little of my descriptions and so forth needed to be changed, which I was very relieved to discover! I learned enough new things, however, to make me even gladder I had gone myself before publishing so I could fix mistakes and enrich descriptions.

2. As Christian homeschoolers from Texas with a love of literature and so forth, there seem to be some parallels between you and Marielle, the heroine of the Six Cousins books; do you think she’s very similar to you or still very much from your imagination?

Ah, you uncovered the similarities! 🙂 Marielle is much like me, particularly when I was her age, fourteen. We think the same way about a lot of things. She is shier and sweeter than myself now; as she grows up, I’m not sure how she’ll change. I think she won’t venture quite as much out of her shell as I have, but then again, she may surprise me!

3. What sort of audience do you think England Adventure would most appeal to? (Age-range, girls/boys, homeschoolers/not..?)

I had Christian girl homeschoolers, ages 12 to 16, in mind as I wrote, but as the story doesn’t focus on homeschooling, it’s not exclusive there; the heroine’s being homeschooled, however, probably makes her appeal most to homeschoolers. It’s also a fairly long and involved story (at least from my perspective …) so anyone older than that has a fair chance of enjoying it, too. As for boys … it might not appeal to them unless they can appreciate its universal aspects, like spiritual lessons and travel … sorry, boys! There is Mr. Endicott, and some fun young guys at the end, but still ….

4. Do you have a favorite character (or two, or three!) in England Adventure, and if so, why?

I love any book character who loves writing, literature, and viewing life poetically, which describes Marielle, so I hope I’m not being vain when I say she’s my favorite. 🙂 I also enjoy Reanna, because she’s quiet, mysterious, musical, and somewhat marginalized. I love Mr. Endicott for making me laugh and feel safe, and Winifred Braithwaite for her spiritual maturity, whimsicality, and lifestyle tastes (house, land, food, literature, music, art!). (I hope four is allowed, because I couldn’t leave out any of them!)

5. What was the most challenging thing about writing England Adventure?

Remembering the days when I wanted to tear out my hair, I have two memories: 1) constructing Paris’s character arc and 2) making sure, from afar, that all my details about England were accurate.

6. How long have you been writing, and what got you started?

I’ve been writing stories since I could print (maybe five or six?) and therefore I don’t remember what got me started … probably being read to my whole life! I was inspired by stories I heard and somehow got the urge to create my own worlds from that.

7. What do you think were some really influential books in your life or writing, consciously or subconsciously?

There is the Bible, but that one’s kind of obvious for Christians. 🙂 Jane Austen’s six novels influenced me because of her attention to everyday life and character analysis rather than action and suspense. L. M. Montgomery made me ravenous for scenery description. Nancy Drew and American Girl’s History Mysteries stoked my love of mysteries, which show up from time to time in my work. Young adult historical fiction, like the Royal Diaries, Dear America, Elizabeth George Speare’s books, and the Little House books made history important to me (history usually shows up in my writing, even in contemporary stories). The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia gave me an appreciation for inspirational fantasy epics. I probably wouldn’t be the same spiritually if not for Christian fiction like Elsie Dinsmore, Christy, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Hind’s Feet on High Places. I can say the same for Christian nonfiction … books by people such as K. P. Yohannan, D. Thomas Lancaster, and Hannah Whitall Smith. And then there are the writing books that helped me improve my fiction techniques. 🙂 You asked a very good question, Deborah!

8. Do you have plans for more books in the Six Cousins series?

Yes, I do! Remember those England experiences I mentioned in the first question? I have to put them somewhere, so a third book in the series, when Marielle’s 18 or so and returns to England, would do nicely. But I haven’t started actually writing it yet, so right now it’s just that—plans. I also have ideas for a fourth book when Marielle is all grown up.

9. What other writing projects are you working on right now?

I’m working on a story set in the Great Depression … and that’s all I’ll say for now. 🙂 Well, I must add that it’s been a blast so far, both writing and researching.

10. And, finally, is there a particular message you are hoping England Adventure will share with its readers? (Or do we have to read the book to find out? ;))

Readers may find out more for themselves, but the messages I had in mind while I was writing were these: to make yourself a tool in God’s hands; to not underestimate what He can do with you if you give Him the reins of your life; to be kind to people because it’s the right thing to do and you never know what will make a life-changing impression on them; to be ready to make a stand for the Lord; and, last but not least, to find your worth in God, not beauty, popularity, success, or any lack thereof. I didn’t quite realize there were that many messages wrapped up in the story until I answered your question, but maybe it’ll all be better absorbed once readers read the book! Thank you SO MUCH for having me, Deborah! I really enjoyed being here and answering your questions!

So glad to have you, Kelsey! Thanks for joining us! 🙂

Readers, you can find and connect with Kelsey online in these places:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

And don’t forget to check out England Adventure for yourselves!

Beautiful People – Author Edition

Today I’m linking up with Sky @Further Up and Further In, and Cait @ Paper Fury (formerly Notebook Sisters) to participate in their lovely interview thingy, Beautiful People!

I did a post for Beautiful Books back in November, but I’ve yet to do an actual Beautiful People post for interviewing characters.

…And it would seem I still won’t have done that, since this month is an Author Edition!

Which means it’s interviewing me instead of my characters.

I know. What a disappointment.

Still… on with the show, shall we?

Beautiful People: Author Edition

1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?

I’ve been writing stories for 12-ish years (yes, I was young!) but I officially decided to be a writer nearly 8 years ago. I did a post about that beginning — I decided I was going to finish my first book and go on to be a writer… And here I am.

2. How/why did you start writing?

I’ve always been, really. Nearly as long as I can remember. There was no specific how/why. It’s a thing that happened once I could use a pencil. And then a computer. It’s just… me. I assume it’s because I read so much (and started reading so early) and was homeschooled and always had stories going on in my head.

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?

I DON’T EVEN KNOW. Maybe when I’m deep in the midst of writing a first draft and am totally in the zone and don’t notice anything else (rare). Or, more likely, the “discovery” moments of my plotting, when I find out how something fits together or suddenly “see” something new for the story. I don’t understand writers who talk about “creating” or “making up” their stories. I discover mine. It’s like they’re already there, on the Tree of Tales (as Tolkien would say), and I just happen to catch glimpses of the leaves and then write down the story that was already there. (Naturally, there’s SOME element of creativity and tweaking and putting everything together. But it feels like discovering, not making up.)

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Finishing things. It’s so hard to actually FINISH a book. (Well, that and sitting down to write, sometimes…) I have a million ideas, and I’ve started copious stories, and gotten fairly far into several of those, but… they just don’t finish. I usually get distracted by another shiny idea, or just… lose focus.

5. Do you write best at night or day?

At night. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a night owl… despite my attempts to get on a better schedule. My writerly brain just seems to get working more at night, and some of my best scenes are brainstormed and/or written at 2 a.m.

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

I posted a picture of my writing area/desk once in this post… (It still looks like that, just not as tidy…) But actually, although I do work at my desk a lot, I might do my actual writing more often while sitting in my big comfy chair where I read.

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a cozy place to read or type

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?

There’s not really a typically… 18 months. 28 days. Just shy of a year. Those are the stats so far. (Yes, the 28 days was a NaNo; the 18 months was my first; the year-long, I was working on other stuff too.) Of course, that’s novels. I tend to write short stories in a day. *innocent grin*

8. How many projects do you work on at once?

Haaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha. *falls on floor laughing* …Ahem. Well. I have so many stories flying around in my brain… I guess I’m usually actively working on at least a couple, but I can’t be too active on more than four-ish… Usually there’s one or two that are most prominently being written, but there’s always plotting and snippets from several others going on.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?

HAPPY. HAPPY. Do not give me tragedy; and only bittersweet under verrry special cases, people. I like my happily ever afters! And hope. And good things like that. Reading sad endings often makes me want to throw things. Like the book. At the author. Ahem.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.

Lloyd Alexander–probably the most. George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. (They were the three who started me writing fantasy.) J.R.R. Tolkien, naturally. And Eleanor Cameron. And probably Mirriam Neal.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?

Um …yessss? Sometimes. My sister always gets to see my latest writing, because she loves my stories and/or because I languish away without feedback. But I’m often nervous about sharing my writing with people besides her. WHAT WILL THESE PEOPLE DO WITH THE WORDS OF MY SOUL? *cowers behind a tapestry* But, on the other hand, I do sort of love it a ton when people read my things. Because when they like them and actually remember to reply/send feedback, there’s no feeling like it in the world. ^_^

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?

Getting all my story ideas written the way I want them to be. (Yeah. Probably not going to happen…) Being published in some dream-mix of all the benefits of Traditional-, Self- and Small Press-publishing would not go amiss either. And I naturally wouldn’t object to becoming fabulously rich. (No fame, though, please. I’m an introvert.)

But to be honest, I’ll settle for actually finishing the stories I’m writing right now, and getting to some of my special projects, sometime in the next few years, WITHOUT going crazy.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?

My goodness. What a question. WHAT ELSE IS THERE? Um. Probably draw beautifully. Or be verrrrry musically talented! …Or both. (I’d still like to!)

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. Six specific ones, in fact.

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  • The climax of my epic fantasy series.
  • A novella that I can’t even describe in words, so I don’t have the skill to convey yet.
  • My time-travel story because it needs a lot of research and is deepish.
  • Both my sci-fi novels–they need experience, and again, deep things.
  • And another book that has a lot of deep/dark stuff going that I’m not ready for.

Basically the ones with deep themes or difficult content. These are the stories that I not only have to be a better writer for, but need to be older. I don’t want to attempt them till I’m ready because I don’t want to mess them up. (And goodness knows I have enough to keep me writing for years in the meantime.)

For all you young authors who tackle big stuff in your books right away — good for you. But I’m not going to try doing certain things till I know it’s the right time for me to try.

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

KW2coverPWell, all of them in their way, naturally.

But lately, my contemporary-fantasy Kedran’s Wood series — that was recent, sudden, and I was not expecting it to get my heart like that!

But it used to be (and is still in the background, waiting…) my epic fantasy series, the Starrellian Saga. They were my original stories, and they’ll always be nearest and dearest my heart in their way. Because while the characters of Kedran’s Wood may have become some of my very best friends… Starrellia is my HOME. My original, old home that I discovered first in my writing. I’m letting that series simmer quietly on the back burner while I finish some other things. But I look forward to the time when I can return to it, and give it my full attention again . . .

. . . and return home.

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