Tare & Steampunk Little Merman: In Which I Go Rebel For NaNo 2018 (Know the Novel Intro Linkup)

(Just to clarify on that silly post title: Tare and the Steampunk Little Merman are not in the SAME story. XD)

Today I’m joining in on Christine Smith’s fun new noveling linkup to share about my 2018 NaNo project!

But first, a little about my plans.

I’m officially going all-out Rebel for NaNo this year.

There, I said it. 😛

Fun facts in list form (because lists!):

  • We’ll see if it goes according to plan, but I’m currently hoping to work on two different books I’ve started before.
  • So I’m… like… a double Rebel. XD (Since you’re “supposed to” start a new work and only write one thing.)
  • This will be my 9th NaNo. (Whaaat?? Where did time go?)
  • PLUS, this is really my first purposeful time of going Rebel for NaNo!
  • I’ve rebelled two other times, but both were by accident. 😛
  • One year I got halfway into the month and totally scrapped the book, realizing I’d need to rewrite it, and so worked on two other things.
  • And then last year I wrote a short story as well as starting a new novel but that was kind of a last-minute decision.

At the moment my goal is to FINISH (or at least get quite close to their endings) TWO novels I’ve been working on:

1) The Siren and the Skyship (steampunk-fantasy YA Little Mermaid — I mean Merman — retelling) — I started this for NaNo last year, got 40-some thousand words written (because of said short story which filled in the rest of the 50K) and have been working on it all year since. It’s now up to 73K and I’m hoping that I can finish it next month.

2) The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (YA contemporary fantasy, book 2 in a series, featuring Tare — my favorite character. Shh, don’t tell anyone else. …Eh, never mind. They know already. 😛 ) — I’ve been writing this since… erm… 2014. *cough* It’s currently a monstrous mess of about 86K words, including snippets and bits all over the place and I really want to get those sewn together and the book finished up finally.

I have in my mind about how long I’d like them both to be, and to fill that up for each would be a combined total of about 50K. (I’m 10000% aware that my novels love to laugh in my face and be way longer than I planned. But at least I can make SOME progress??)

SO YEAH. No exciting new novel to announce this year — sorry! Just continuing on two old favorites of mine. Which, honestly, has me super excited because I love them. ^_^

Usually, I spend NaNo starting new books and not finishing them, so this year I figured I’d try something new.

But also, endings are scary and hard and whyamIdoingthistomyselfhalp, so… wish me luck. *bites nails*

SO. I’m going to do Christine Smith’s exciting new novel linkup, Know the Novel, to talk a little about both of these! I know I’ve rambled about both books before, but I’m excited about these questions so I’m going to talk more about my precious book brainchilds — so there. 😛 Hopefully y’all won’t mind. 😉


Giveaway Winner

OH! And last week I shared some NaNo writing tips and ran a giveaway for a copy of “No Plot? No Problem!” by NaNo founder Chris Baty, and today I’m excited to announce that the winner is…

Lilian S.!

Congrats, Lilian! I’ll be contacting you shortly. 🙂

Thanks so much for entering, everyone! ^_^


Now, onward to the Official Linkup Questions!

If you want to know more Tare things or stuff about my steampunk Little Mermaid book (including NEW AND IMPROVED BLURBS — YAY! — for both books), then read on!

Know the Novel, a writers linkup by Christine @ Musings of an Elf! Image from her post.

(Abbreviations: The Secret of Kedran’s Wood = KW2. The Siren and the Skyship: S&S.)

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

S&S: The idea of a Little Mermaid retelling in the sky instead of in the sea, with a wind/cloud siren instead of a merperson — and the siren being a guy, while the heroine is a princess and a skyship captain… because steampunk. >:D So yeah.

KW2: After writing the first book (which was supposed to be a standalone — hahahaHAHAHA — ahem), I still had adventures to explore with Tare and the Chess Club. I loved them too much to stop writing them. Originally there was going to be one sequel (which is now book 3) but then I had an idea for a fun little wintry/Christmassy short story or novella between the two, since I had some fun winter scenes in mind. So I started writing that. Then it became book 2 and is currently a monstrously long novel. Figures. 😉

2. Share a blurb!

The Siren and the Skyship (Sky Voyages Ever After, #1)

Searching for his father’s killer, Prince Auren the Cloud Siren needs to be more substantial than a wind spirit. But to become human he must make a trade. Who needs a voice, anyway?

Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley of the Royal Skynavy finds her life thrown into chaos when assassins strike. She’ll do anything to stop a war from erupting between the sky city states and tearing apart what’s left of her family.

Fighting to forge a new life for himself in the skynavy after everything he holds dear is ripped away, Stirling Rook holds the most dangerous secret of all—one the Sorcerer of the Mist will be happy to take off his hands.

Assassins prowl cloud city rooftops, the pirate king terrorizes the skies, unknown death lurks down the misty ravines where no one goes, and the Sorcerer of the Mist keeps collecting things that don’t belong to him . . .

Tasmania, Auren, and the Star Dreamer’s crew may soar through the clouds on skyships and clockwork dragons, but have they traded away the only thing that can defeat the darkness?

One thing’s for sure: they’ll need all the magic, tea, and true love they can find.

***

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, #2)

All that monster stuff the Chess Club of Kedran’s Wood went through in the summer is absolutely and completely over. Totally. Isn’t it?

There are mysteries afoot in the town by Kedran’s Wood. Mr. Larch’s sister is visiting, but the rest of the Chess Club haven’t actually seen her. What is the connection between the Wildlings and the new guy around town and his goons? And why are they looking for Tare?

Speaking of which . . . the resident leather-clad stranger (no longer so strange) returns from his absence one snowy December day. Tare does some investigating of his own into the people looking for him, but he’s haunted by nightmares and the approach of a night that might make his worst fears a reality.

Harold Starrford and his step-father aren’t going to stop until they know the information Tare possesses, and they don’t care who gets caught in the crossfire. Tare’s not going to have that — not in his town. Throw in a mysterious dog that keeps popping up around town, and a legend of a dark faerie (which might not be so legendary), and it’s business as usual around Kedran’s Wood for the Chess Club and Tare these days.

And, oh yeah, Christmas is coming. How is the Chess Club going to find time for gingerbread house making contests? And what on earth are they going to do for Tare for Christmas? If all of them can make it that long, that is . . .

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

S&S: IN THE SKY in a fantasy world. I absolutely love having floating cities, skyships soaring through clouds (and clockwork dragons to ride instead of boats/shuttles/helicopters/whatever), and mysterious pillars of rock all over the place hiding in the mist that skyships have to sail through. Plus creepy ravines nobody goes down because you… kinda die if you go down there. *cough* And I also love the steampunk-flavored touch to this fantasy world, with cool old-fashioned clothes and coats and ball dances and clocks and gears and steam-rifles and the occasional magical gadgetry and especially skyships. The skyships are my favorite. 😀

KW2: In a small town in modern-day America, next to a wood. Kedran’s Wood itself has to be my favorite part of the setting (it’s kind of mysterious and just so neat), but I’m also partial to using abandoned warehouses etc. for the villains to lurk in. And Tare lives in the deserted side of town in his own cozy “lair” as the Chess Club have named it. I kind of want to live there…

4. Tell us about your protagonist.

S&S: *nervous laughter* Which one? XD I kind of have three. 😛

Auren is a cloud-siren prince (okay, so he’s the seventh son, so not that important) which means he’s an insubstantial air spirit. Or, he was. Now he’s human, and he’s not at all used to it. XD He’s got white hair and he’s seventeen and super cool. I actually need to rewrite his entire plotline, and his personality also just changed, so I’m going to move to somebody else here. (But it’s his story, pretty much. He’s the “little mermaid” er… merman… er… siren. I mean, he’s neither little, nor mer, nor a maid, but it’s still a Little Mermaid retelling, I promise. *cough*)

Princess/Captain Tasmania is the princess of a city in the clouds, but since she has two older brothers in line for the throne (twins, actually; one the crown prince, one in charge of the sky navy — they’re awesome, by the way), she’s free to captain her own beloved skyship, the Star Dreamer, in the Royal Sky Navy. She flies around with her motley crew she’s put together (including Auren and Rook now… bwahaha), doing various missions. And she’s like seventeen too, and has curly red hair.

If I tell you about Rook I’ll be here all day because he’s my favorite and keeps stealing the show, but he’s in the Royal Sky Navy and is really cool, and if you ask him he’ll let you know that his author is super mean. *cough*

(Me: Stop stealing the spotlight in this book already, won’t you? I already promised you a sequel!

Rook: And then you made it book 3 instead of book 2. I’m only saying.

Me: Blame Keller! He’s a sky pirate! Of course he stole your book!)

KW2:

The Chess Club are kind of the protagonists, but, again, it would take awhile to introduce them all… Briefly, there’s shy Lavender, rambunctious Baz (the pun-master), fiery Ivy, confident Adrian (who clashes with Tare sometimes), and the siblings, solid Marie and cautious Jake. There’s also wry Mr. Larch (the only one who’s not a teen), and Small Occasion the little fluffy white dog. 😉

Tare is honestly the real protagonist, though. He’s my favorite character I’ve ever written, so… I can’t really sum him up in a paragraph. *cough* I can start, though. He’s 19 (ish… it’s complicated), has black hair and always wears a black leather jacket (usually carting a fair number of weapons in it to deal with any… situations that might arise, though his fists would work just as well). He’s a little mysterious and shady-seeming, with a dark past (like… Khazad-dum dark… Don’t even think of going there.) but honestly he has a heart of gold and you want him on your side in a pinch. Just don’t expect him to be social.

I will direct you to previous interviews and such if you would like more of a glimpse at what Tare is like. XD Here, here, and here to start with.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

S&S: The Sorcerer of the Mist, who’s… kind of like the stand-in for the Sea Witch of the original tale, but is actually a tall, thin man in a long coat who’s kind of elegant and totally creepy. He’s the main antagonist, but there are also sky pirates and assassins and a traitor sky navy captain (who is a total jerk, ugh) and some danger lurking down the misty ravines which makes no one ever return… There’s a lot of antagonistic forces in this one. I like to keep things interesting for my characters. *cough*

KW2: There’s more than one antagonist in this as well, and… er… awkwardly, one of them is Harold “Mr. Perfect-Teeth” Starrford (the nickname is what the Chess Club called him before learning his name. XD), the guy who’s dating Mr. Larch’s sister Robin. So yeah. But the other one is Harold’s kinda-shady/ominous secretary-slash-step-father, Greg Nobody-really-remembers-his-last-name. (Aaand there may be an evil faerie involved. I’m just sayin’.)

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

S&S: ALL THE THINGS. Literally. The characters (I love them all so much, okay?), the world, the complicated plot now spilling into three books, the fairytale retelling aspect, the steampunkery and fantasyness… I LOVE IT ALL. I’m absurdly in love with all of the things in this book. And writing this blog post is making me even MORE excited! Like… can it be NaNo already? (I’m not ready, honest, but still.)

KW2: My favorite character, Tare, being awesome… as well as getting to meet A NEW CHARACTER I’m rather excited about. But really I love continuing this series. And at the moment, I’m just really ready for this second book to be DONE! (…So that I can hasten onward and write book 3 which has been attacking my brain lately. Not that I’ll complain. ;))

7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?

They were both SUPPOSED to be standalones and are now series. XD Go figure.

S&S: This is the first in a fairytale retelling trilogy. Originally they were going to be standalones, just with a few recurring characters… but now they’re an awesome tangled mess of plot threads following all my favorite characters and being all interconnected and I’m so excited. Currently book 2 is a Jack and the Beanstalk/Snow White/Rapunzel book about a sky pirate by the name of Keller. Book 3 is about my fave character Rook (YAS!) and will feature The Snow Queen… and possibly Beauty and the Beast or East of the Sun, West of the Moon? I’m not sure yet. It’s being stubborn. They’re a bit more “inspired by” fairytales than straight-up retellings, but still fun. (Oh, and book 2 and 3 recently swapped places so MY BRAIN IS CONFUSED but don’t mind me.)

KW2: This is book 2 in a contemporary fantasy trilogy… with extras on the side. I’ve written book 1. Book 3 is going to feature the Chess Club and Tare on summer vacation, and scary agents and new characters and more secrets about Tare’s past and stuff. I’m excited. Then I have a smattering of short stories and novellas with the same characters, so yeah. Lots to write with this one! But it’s so much fun, I have no complaints. 😛 (There’s also the fact that Tare and another side character in the series recently teamed up in my head with some other side characters from two other books of mine to make me promise I’ll write a crossover Urban Fantasy heisty novel about all of them together. So there’s that. *cough*)

8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?

Er… some of both, for both. I have a lot of scenes in my head, and a fair amount of notes, but I’m not nearly as plotted as I’d like to be for an actual NaNo month. I do have a rough idea of where things are going, though. And I technically have a list of the rest of the scenes in each, all divided up into 30 days of writing, so in THEORY I should be okay… until it all falls apart. XD I’m just hoping both of them will listen to me and let me get to the end. *sound of both books laughing at me in the background* (Me: Stop it, guys.)

9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.

S&S: Hopefully it’s a unique take on The Little Mermaid, and I like to think the setting is unique too. 🙂

KW2: This one’s unique because it’s about modern teenagers but WITHOUT THE TEENAGED DRAMA/ANGST/LOVE-TRIANGLES yay! XD Um. I’m sure there’s other unique things too. *cough*

10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Well, for both, here’s a handy pinboard I always set up for NaNo, with various inspiration and stuff.

S&S: Drop by my Pinterest board for a look at the sort of “feel” of it! 🙂

And imagine a kind of Lindsey Stirling esque soundtrack going on. XD

KW2: And then I also have an inspiration board for this one.


SO. There you have a look at the two stories I’ll hopefully be immersed in for the following month!

And thanks to the ever-awesome Christine for the splendid linkup with the great questions! I’m extra looking forward to NaNo now, ready or not. 😀

Talk to me! What do you think about my NaNo plan? Learn anything new about my WIPs? Are YOU doing NaNo this year? (I’m HERE if you’d like to be buddies!) If you’re not NaNo-ing, I half-envy your sanity and hope you won’t mind a smidge of NaNo flailing going on this time of year — sorry. *cough* How is NaNo almost HERE?? :O HALP. #cuepanic

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The Return of the 777 Writing Challenge

I know I haven’t been posting much, and it’s because I’M SWAMPED GETTING READY FOR REALM MAKERS. *shrieking*

Ahem. (Really excited, though! :D)

If you’re going to be at the #RealmMakers2018 writers’ conference next week, I hope I’ll see you there!

Meantime, I’m stealing this writing tag from the awesome Claire Banschbach because I wanted an excuse to share some snippets. XD (And because it has paragraphs instead of merely lines — huzzah!)

Rules

  1. Open your WIP to the seventh page
  2. Scroll past the seventh line
  3. Copy the next seven paragraphs and paste them on your blog for THE WORLD to read
  4. Tag seven people

Let’s Do This Thing

I’m using my three current Works in Progress, because I’m contrary like that. 😉

I’m sharing a bit from The Other Half of Everything, and also from two other WIPs… with a twist.

See, the part from The Siren and the Skyship that would normally be the 7th page is going to be rewritten, so instead, I’m counting from my writing-since-NaNo which is kind of part 2 of the book.

Similarly, since I shared a 777 snippet from The Secret of Kedran’s Wood already (and then again), I’m counting 7 pages into part 2 for that as well.

Enjoy these glimpses at Teague and Meridian, Rook and Xasper, and Tare and Adrian. 🙂 (And please forgive any first-draft-ish-ness.)


The Other Half of Everything

He swiveled around. “Oh, where are my manners? Of course,” he said.

I could have given him an answer to that, but I kept a lid on it, because potential job and everything.

He held out his hand and gave a rather absentminded smile. “The name’s Teague. Teague Aurelius. A pleasure to meet you.”

Same,” I said, shaking his hand. What? A girl can’t lie occasionally in the interests of being polite? Somebody certainly needed to be that around here.

What was your name again?” Teague asked as he turned away and clambered up a ladder to reach a book on a shelf near the ceiling.

Meridian Brownley,” I said crisply. I’d already told him twice. Politeness was suddenly overrated. I could see why it didn’t do anything for him.

Overcompensating, were they?” he muttered on his way back down, a book under each arm, another tucked under his chin somehow, and a fourth open in one hand, which he seemed to be trying to read while using the other hand to help himself down the ladder. It flashed through my mind that his great-uncle might not be the only person around here to become deceased.


(Note: Xasper is a street urchin and Rook is in the Royal Skynavy. Rook recently discovered that Xasper is his long-lost little brother and tries to take him in — which Xasper has opinions about. This is the first time they have tea together in Rook’s flat.)

The Siren and the Skyship

Xasper was looking at him expectantly over the scone he was munching, as if waiting for him to say something.

“What?” Rook asked.

“I said, I’m surprised you didn’t make me wash my hands before eating these.”

Rook blinked. “Why are you surprised at that?”

Xasper shrugged. “Thought you’d be the rules-and-regs type.”

Eying the grubby fingers in question, Rook said carefully, “What you do with your hands is your business. Now that you mention it, I might suggest doing something about it, but I’m not going to shove a lot of orders down your throat if that’s what you’re wondering.”

Xasper watched him for another second, then put down the remains of the scone, hopped up quickly and crossed to the washstand where he cleaned his hands, then returned to the table. He pursed his lips and rubbed a smudge off the pastry before downing the rest of it in one gulp, and washing it down with tea.


The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

And Tare knew Adrian—he would follow and try to get involved and “help” if he even suspected that Tare had anything as interesting going on as being chased by a gunman. He had to get him out of the way without telling him there was any danger, but make it clear that Adrian was not welcome to follow him around today and pester him with questions or whatever reason he had come looking for Tare. There was no time to explain.

As his thoughts calculated, humming swiftly through his mind, Tare was already moving across the roof toward where the ladder came up, and had almost reached it as Adrian made it to the rooftop and stood upright. His blue denim jacket and tousled blond hair would make a great target in all this snow and lifelessly-gray architecture.

“Tare—” Adrian began, panting a little from his quick climb. But Tare tuned him entirely out, ignoring whatever words followed, and made straight for him. Before Adrian had quite figured out that Tare wasn’t stopping, Tare practically walked into him, forcing Adrian to back up a couple steps, breaking off with a “Whoa—” and holding his hands up.

Tare punched Adrian full in the jaw, sending him reeling back over the edge of the roof. Tare had planned and timed it perfectly. Adrian plummeted directly into the dumpster by the building, which Tare happened to know was entirely filled with mounds of black garbage bags filled with raked leaves, covered in a thick layer of snow.

Tare walked off across the roof, pausing only briefly enough to be sure that Adrian had landed safely where he’d wanted him—he’d be a little sore and likely furious at Tare, but at least he wouldn’t end up getting shot as long as he took the hint and went home.

Glancing over at the alley on the other side of the building Tare stood on, he spied Greg just coming into sight, and let him catch sight of him, fully in view against the sky on the rooftop for long enough to grab his attention, before sprinting off across the roof and leaping onto the next one in the long chain of buildings there. Greg and company gave chase.

Tare stayed out of sight for the most part, to avoid being an actual target, but let them see him just often enough that they knew he was still ahead of them. And he drew them off — away from where Adrian was likely clambering sulkily from the dumpster — drawing them back toward his new escape plan, closer to his lair and the edge of Kedran’s Wood.


Tagging

I tag… Sarah, Skye, Mikayla, Daley, Shantelle, KelseyC.B., and… I ran out of people in the 7, but I also tag YOU/anyone else who wants to do it! And those I did tag, absolutely no pressure if you’d rather not/don’t have time. ❤

(I’m also not tagging Realm Makers peeps because I suspect you’re as busy as I am, BUT if you’d like to give this a shot at a later date, DO IIIT! :D)

If you do, link back so I can read your awesome snippets too!


I hope you enjoyed that! What was your favorite part, or which character do you like the best? XD Thanks for reading!

(And if there are any fellow Realmies reading this, drop me a line! 🙂 I want to meet everyonnne!)

Steampunk, Explosions (Almost), & All the Writing: May 2018 Ishness

Well… I’m back!

In the famous words of Sam Gamgee (I was creative about the punctuation, but still). Which most people consider to be the end of The Lord of the Rings — EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A PERFECTLY GOOD EPILOGUE AFTER THAT WHICH SOMEBODY CONVINCED TOLKIEN TO LEAVE OUT OF THE PUBLISHED VERSION AND WHICH I’VE STILL NOT FORGIVEN WHOEVER-IT-WAS FOR DOING BECAUSE REALLY. IT NEEDED THAT AWESOME EPILOGUE.

Ahem.

Pardon my Middle-earth rabbit-trail.

Anyhoo, I’m back from my May hiatus-of-sorts, and I’ll now proceed to fill you in on aaall the writing/reading/watching/etc. that happened while I was away from blogging!

Including snippets and the time my street almost blew up. Ish.


Writing

I wrote 15,000 words in May, which I’m extremely happy about! Especially since that’s more than I wrote for April Camp NaNo. XD

Most of that was due to a lot of lovely wordsprints during Indie E-Con, which had a week-long word-war… which I won due to my 10K words that week. 😀 I was kiiind of really excited about that! I actually wrote 11.5K words that week if you count Sunday — just over the amount of words I’d written in the entirety of April for Camp, so I’m very pleased!

I wrote parts of a couple other things, but mostly I was working on my steampunk-fantasy novel, The Siren and the Skyship, which is flying along quite nicely! I’m extremely happy about this. 😀 I’ve been writing mostly out of order, just a scene here and a scene there (but they’re connecting, finally!), sometimes in a messy draft-zero form, and the plot is still being stubborn and I KNOW I’ll have to rewrite a ton, but at least I’m making progress and having a BLAST. It’s so much fun and I love this story so much. ^_^

I wrote over 13K words on S&S in May, so last I knew, the story has reached about 67K words. I’m getting to write actual-big-important-scenes and it’s fabulous. 😀

In short, I wrote a TON (for me) this last month, and I’m having the absolute best time, and IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY. ❤


Snippets (from The Siren and the Skyship)

Keller threw up his hands. “You were tracking me? I always knew the stories were right and stepbrothers are evil.”

“It’s stepsisters,” Gerias protested, “and I’m not evil.”

“You put a tracking on me without my permission. What do you call that?”

“People rarely put trackings on people with permission,” Tasmania mused.

Gerias sighed. “No offense, Captain, but you’re not helping.”

Keller pointed at her. “You are, actually. Thanks for that.” He sent a pointed look at Gerias.

***

“You know, we never did get that time hanging out and chatting, just the three of us,” Tasmania said.

Percy’s face dropped. “Oh. I—I forgot. I had that thing and then— I’m so sorry—”

“Don’t. I know you’re busy. It’s just… this is fun, you know? Just getting to chat for a minute. Alone. Ish.”

Ish here meaning in a ballroom surrounded by about three hundred people,” her brother said wryly.

Tasmania wrinkled her nose, but she was smiling too. “That’s exactly what ish means.”

“Well, you know what? Forget social thingamawhatsits and duties and whatnot; they can go hang,” King Percival said recklessly. “The three of us do need to find a time to just chat—let’s do it tonight.”

“What, after the ball?”

“Yes, exactly.”

“At, like, midnight?” Tasmania raised an eyebrow.

“We’re grownups. We can stay up late,” Percival said bullishly.

Tasmania laughed. “I meant, there’s that whole coronation thing tomorrow morning. Are you sure you want to stay up late talking all night the night before? You’ll be all bleary and half-asleep and red-eyed, and you’ll fall asleep while you’re being crowned or something.”

“Exactly. It’ll be glorious. Why not live a little, I say? And then I can always say anything that goes wrong was your fault, you know,” he teased.

“Just you try,” Tasmania said, smirking.


Reading

I read some lovely books this month!

  • If you’re curious about these, you can click the following links to read my reviews of: Kate’s Dilemma, The Story Peddler, Mythical Doorways, and The Stealthmaster’s Shadow. I really enjoyed all of them!
  • Oh, oh! And Mythical Doorways had some delightful short stories (and it’s FREE, so you should totally pick it up!), including one with my new favorite character, Jayden. I’ve only met him in short stories, but HE’S MY FAVE. If you hear me randomly flailing about him, this is why.
  • Common was SO SWEET. Lovely fantasy/fairytale-esque romantic YA, reminiscent of things like Ella Enchanted. I loved it. ^_^
  • Trial by Song was a FASCINATING modern retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and was SO INTENSE. O_O *collapses* It also ended on a terrible cliffhanger from which I’ve still not recovered.
  • A Sidekick’s Tale was a hilarious western novella — kind of like if a Bertie Wooster story was a western. XD
  • AND THEN THERE’S THE ELECTRICAL MENAGERIE. People. You need this book in your life. It’s a steampunk (ish) novel with a buddy story (kind of) and snark and humor and show business and illusions and murder and danger and plots, and I can’t really categorize it but IT WAS SO GOOD AAAH. I currently have a book hangover from this delightful book. How will anything ever be this good again? *collapses* The Electrical Menagerie is releasing this week. Anyway. If you’re not sure if you’d like to try it or not, you can check out Arbrook Huxley and the Star-Crossed Lovers to see if you’d like more of the same, since it’s a short story which is free on the author’s newsletter and is HILARIOUS. XD (Butbutbut. Carthage and Huxley. They’re my favorites. :D)

(I’m not going to link to all the titles but if you’d like to check out any of these books, you can find links to them on my Goodreads Reading Challenge page.)


Watching


  • So, I saw Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story. And, in an attempt to be a good blogger and share things I thought about them in this post, I wrote up thoughts on both at least three times and erased them and… yeah, no, not going to have opinions because I hate having those (or at least sharing them) and I don’t want to be roasted by (or hurt feelings of) any who feel strongly one way or another. I had mixed thoughts on both, disliked some things, enjoyed others. 🙂 The end.
  • I also randomly re-watched the Lord of the Rings fan-films Born of Hope (THE SONS OF ELROND!) and The Hunt for Gollum. XD
  • And just a few episodes of the usual suspects: Once Upon a Time, Trollhunters, NCIS, and White Collar. And a little re-watching Sherlock. Still enjoying all of ’em in their way! 🙂

Also, speaking of movies, there’s a poster for the next How to Train Your Dragon movie AND AAAAAHH LOOK AT IT!!!! ❤

(I’ll just be over here QUIETLY SHRIEKING about this, thank you. *muffled “squee!” noises*)


Life

I’ve been working on a website and some branding/theme stuff for my writing self, so I’m hoping to share some of that in the next month or so. 🙂


I guess the most exciting thing that happened was my street almost blowing up.

I may exaggerate.

Slightly.

“We may experience some slight turbulence and then… explode.”

Okay, so some roadwork people hit a gas line right in front of my house, and they kinda-sorta evacuated half the block. We grabbed laptops and went down to a cafe thing for a couple of hours and saw reruns of the Royal Wedding, and mostly just hoped they (the road workers, not the royal people) wouldn’t accidentally blow up the block or anything. But it got fixed and we went home and everything was fine. It was just… an interesting day. *cough*


My sis and I have also been jogging occasionally, which has been fun because we’ve named ourselves the “Like a Quick Lady” Writer Fitness Club. Because writers need to get out too.

It’s a reference to a line from Beggar Magic by H. L. Burke:

She started to run, but heard her mother’s voice in her head, “Do you want to be so out of breath you can’t even say ‘hello’ when you find your friend? Walk like a lady.”

Like a quick lady, Leilani decided.

(Beggar Magic is an excellent book I really enjoyed, and if you’re curious to read it, it’s currently the free thing you get if you sign up for H. L. Burke’s fun newsletter. FYI.)

I just like that line, and “like a quick lady” is something I say when I’m in a hurry. XD So when we’re jogging, we say that a lot, as well as “On your left!” (Because Captain America.) Because what fun is jogging unless there are lots of fandom-y, inside jokes? 😉


Also, fresh apricots are STUPENDOUS, I TELL YOU. That is all.


June Plans

Well… it’s June (HOW??) so Realm Makers is less than a month and a half away, which is TERRIFYING (I mean… exciting, too; but still terrifying), so I really have to get on that to-do list of mine and start finishing up some of the projects I’ve been working on, like my official website and things. 😛

So I’ll be focusing on various writerly pre-conference things and trying to juggle life, while also hopefully keeping up with a bunch of book releases and reviews because some little otter secretary seems to have signed me up for a lot of blog tours and review books right when I need to be busy with other stuff. 😉

But that’s how these things go, and I’m super excited for all the books (you can check out all the bookish things going on this month in my Bookish News post on my book blog!) so yeah. It’s going to be fun! I just feel extremely busy. XD


How about you? Thoughts? What are your June plans? Share in the comments — I’d love to hear all about it. ^_^ I hope you have an amazing summer! Thanks so much for reading. ❤

Camp NaNo Ishness/Hiatus

Hello, reader peeps!

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to during the last few weeks of relative silence around here, you’re in luck!

It’s time for an Ishness post — hurrah!

In which I recap my Camp NaNo and other Ishnesses of April. It’s been a busy and exciting month! And also to say that I’m taking a bit of a blogging break for May.

There may also be snippets. And photography.

So let’s get to it!

Camp NaNo Writing Adventures

I participated in and completed Camp NaNo!

And it was amazing, guys. So, so amazing. I’ve missed writing.

Thanks to some awesome wordsprints courtesy of Jenelle and Sarah and some other writing friends, I discovered that I can write 1K in 40 minutes’ worth of wordsprints, which led to a whirlwind of Camp writing for me. I’m. so. excited. I had written hardly anything this year and it was so delightful to finally get back into it!

I made my goal of 10 hours of writing/writing-related-stuff-like-plotting-and-editing, hitting 11 hours for the month.

My April writing accomplishments included:

  • 11,439 words of writing.
  • Naming an important character (the hero of book 3 of my Sky Voyages retelling trilogy) — he’s a pirate and his name is Keller. 😀
  • Outlining the next several parts of The Siren and the Skyship.
  • Realizing I need to redo basically all that I’d written of the book during last November, but OH WELL, at least I know. XD I think I’ll try to power through to the end before rewrites… hopefully…
  • I wrote 10K words of The Siren and the Skyship, a mix of rough first draft and draft-zero, some in order, some later on. But it’s the first writing on this I’ve done since last year’s NaNo, so I’m excited to be back to it!
  • My characters seemed to spend a lot of their time meeting at night on rooftops. Okay, then! Also, I’m having the best time writing about my character Rook.
  • I also wrote 1300 words of The Other Half of Everything, finishing and editing the first chapter, which has been in a half-written-out-of-order state for years.
  • GUYS. I’M DONE A WHOLE CHAPTER OF THE OTHER HALF OF EVERYTHING.
  • I have several thousand words of OHE written, but it’s all in snippets out of order. So having a completed first chapter all finished is SO EXCITING to me!
  • Anyway, between plotting, writing 10K of S&S, and finishing OHE’s first chapter, I’m very pleased with what I got done this month for Camp NaNo. 🙂 I’m hoping to keep up the writing momentum, but we’ll see what happens.

Snippets!

… exchanging the usual niceties one exchanged over tea.

“What did you want to see me about?” Rook asked finally, politely but warily.

He was not used to being called on by dignitaries, and was more than usually aware that his new little brother, sitting right at the table with them, was a street thief. Although Xasper had been silent and as well-mannered as could be, he could well be a ticking steam-bomb counting down to something disastrous.

It was all rather alarming, really, and the sooner it was all over with, the better Rook would like it.

The Siren and the Skyship

***

Percival chose this extremely inopportune time to wake up and hear what they were discussing. “Don’t even think about it, Mania,” he said blearily from his half-asleep and bandaged state. “You’re the princess, and as a princess, you can’t go there without causing an international incident.”

Tasmania shooed a hand at her brother. “I know, I know. As a princess, I won’t.”

“Not as a Royal Skynavy captain either,” he warned.

Blast. He shouldn’t even be alert enough to notice. “As you command, my king,” Tasmania said, saluting. But Auren and Noya were giving her Looks which meant they knew exactly what she was thinking.

Fortunately, Percival’s eyes had drifted shut again and he didn’t see.

Well then. Not a princess, and not a captain, either. She would go as herself—even if she had to smuggle herself in a pirate ship to do so.

Which, incidentally, was exactly what she planned to do.

The Siren and the Skyship

***

“Do try not to jump; it disturbs the books,” the young man remarked.

— The Other Half of Everything

***

He held out his hand and gave a rather absentminded smile. “The name’s Teague. Teague Aurelius. A pleasure to meet you.”

“Same,” I said, shaking his hand. What? A girl can’t lie occasionally in the interests of being polite? Somebody certainly needed to be that around here.

The Other Half of Everything

Reading

I… did not read very much this month. Between Camp NaNo and editing and life, not to mention starting about half a dozen books and then not finishing them (I’m in 5 right now; it’s embarrassing) I don’t have much to show in the reading department.

I managed to hit my 50-book goal for my Goodreads Reading Challenge, though! (I’ve been including short stories this year, okay. Don’t be too amazed. :P)

But I did read a handful of things. A picture book, ONE novel (The Lost Castle, which I reviewed), two short stories, and two non-fiction short ebooks about writing. Aaand that’s it. They were all pretty good, and I highly recommend Jamie Foley and Angela Castillo’s Busy Moms’ Guide to Writing even for those who are not busy moms but are still writers. XD

Not pictured but hopefully releasing in the next month or two is Horseman by Kyle Robert Shultz, which I edited and therefore read a couple times this month. It’s hilarious, and is a fantastic magical wild west tale, so watch for that!

Watching

  • I re-watched the first couple episodes of the original season of Sherlock… which was neat to re-visit. XD (They’re so YOUNG, though! :O)
  • I saw a bit more White Collar, which I’m still enjoying aside from the usual bits I don’t care for that all TV has. But it’s still fun. XD Love these characters!
  • I started watching Trollhunters, just a few episodes, which is a lot of fun so far.
  • And a little NCIS and original Star Trek. To keep me on my toes.
  • I also re-watched The Last Jedi and… eh. I’m still mixed on it, but that seems to happen to me with ALL movies these days, so. 😛 (I need a crystal fox.)

Listening

  • I’m still listening to Wander with Me, Smoke and Mirrors, and Rise and Fall periodically from Brittany Jean’s latest album. ❤

  • Jen Ledger, the drummer girl for the band Skillet, started her own band: Ledger! I’m kind of excited because she’s so sweet and I love her voice, so this is great. I’ve been listening to the tracks she just released and having fun with those. 🙂

  • Speaking of Skillet, you know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head and listen to it all the time because it’s so catchy and the latest thing you love? Well I have that with Stay ‘Til the Daylight (by Skillet), which my character Rook informed me is his theme song for the sequel to The Siren and the Skyship.
  • It’s also been Camp NaNo so I’ve been listening to fast word-warring music and the Ren: The Girl with the Mark soundtrack because it’s perfect for the “feel” of The Siren and the Skyship — gorgeous and epic.
  • And Cara Dillon, because her voice is amazing. ❤

  • (Yes, I’m aware this is a strange mix of music. I have unique taste. *cough*)

Life

  • It’s been quite the busy month, juggling life and various projects/work and Camp NaNo.

  • I won my first writing contest with my otter flash fiction (my goodness, was that this month?)!
  • Camp NaNo kept me on my toes. XD But it was glorious focusing on writing again.

  • I randomly realized “OH, I HAVE A WATTPAD ACCOUNT; I SHOULD USE IT,” and posted Wintertale over there. I may put up another couple of short stories when I have time.
  • Arielle Bailey more or less convinced me that my personality type is probably ISFP even though I’ve tested as a couple other types (INFP/INFJ). I’m going to look into it more but from what she said, it seems legit. XD (Arielle, do that MBTI blog series!)
  • I got to attend a lovely writer retreat; it was fun getting to hang out with a bunch of fellow writer gals for a weekend! ❤ Not to mention appropriate, because it was like a real-live Camp NaNo! 😉 It was amazing. ^_^

sunset

cozy cottage

sunrise from the balcony

May Plans / Hiatus

I’m taking a bit of a blogging/internet break during May.

Before anybody panics (no panicking, okay?), this is not to say that I won’t be around at all. There are, after all, a few exciting things going on this month (like the ones I mentioned in my In Bookish News post on my book blog) which I may (haha, pun!) drop in on. Plus, my hiatuses (hiatusi?) don’t always turn out as hiatus-y (shh, it’s a word) as I plan; but it should help anyway. XD

(Goodness, that was a lot of parentheses. Please excuse.)

I just need to give myself permission to step away a little and breathe. Sometimes everything gets to be a little much, you know?

I’m a little worn out with all the busyness that’s been non-stop for the past four months, and I also need to catch up on things and do some more prep for Realm Makers (which is creeping up on us at an alarming rate!).

So for my own sanity (what’s that? O_O), I’m reining back a little, and if you need to get a hold of me I’m sure I’ll still be checking email. 😉

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a Merry Month of May, friends! ❤ And let me know what’s up with you, in the comments! ^_^

In Which I Do the Spring Cleaning Writer Tag Challenge

springcleaningwritertagchallenge

Last week I shared my very first original tag, the Spring Cleaning Writer Tag Challenge — and today I’m here to answer the questions myself, as promised!

So this is a chance to catch up on ALL my writerly news of late! 🙂

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

I didn’t so much have “goals” as “dreams” (like I mentioned in my New Year post), but a glance at those can show that I’m not very far on most of them. I did, however, start working on a few! So I’ll share those at least. Because #positivethinking.

  • Finish the short stories I’d started. I haven’t, actually, BUT I did write a new one, a flashfiction. Which I actually entered in a contest for the Fellowship of Fantasy — I think fan voting starts March 27 (tomorrow) so you can check it out if you like, and I’m so excited to see everyone’s entries! (And I had an idea for another short story. So many ideas. Halp.)
  • I haven’t set up my Facebook page yet (waiting on finishing my website first) BUT I did take the first step and set up a FB account. *cough* (What is this life.) So you can find me there if you’re so inclined. 🙂
  • I’ve been WORKING on my official website. It’s not done yet but I have clear ideas about where I want it to go and I’ve been working on it a bit… I will be sure to share it with y’all when it’s ready! (Going hand-in-hand with this is my newsletter, which, again, is not ready yet, but will be available to sign up for when my site is up, even if I might not start said newsletter for a little while.)

  • Spend more time with the stories and characters I love most. I’ve been doing a little of this, namely finishing a chapter with Tare & co. that I had been stuck on FOREVER, and which is full of so much tension but also fun and feels. ❤ And I plotted the first dozen chapters of The Other Half of Everything and have been thinking a lot about Teague and Meridian and the rest. I’m so excited to have wrestled part of this into an outline! 😀 Now that I actually know where the bits I’ve written out of order go, it’s rather exhilarating. (Writing a book out of order is exhausting and I don’t recommend it, but this book is something special, and it will be written how it pleases, thank-you-very-much, regardless of how I feel about it.)

  • I have NOT finished developing The Siren and the Skyship sequels, but I’ve been doing brainstorming on and off, making a little progress, and I might work on this project more for Camp? We’ll see?

  • I am actually working on my freelance proofreading/copyediting business, which I’m very excited about! I’ve done a couple projects now, and I love it. If anyone needs their typos caught, I’m available. 😉

  • And obviously Realm Makers hasn’t happened yet, but I have officially signed up for it. Guys. I’m going to Realm Makers in July! I’M SO EXCITED. I can’t wait to meet everyone there! 🙂

So my goals/dreams are still similar, and that’s just an update on the ones I’ve made progress on. 🙂 Those are mostly partial successes, and if I’m being honest, I really haven’t been able to focus much on writing this year yet — which makes me sad. But it’s heartening to see I’m making a little bit of progress in a few areas! ^_^

Tentative new goal might be to do Camp NaNoWriMo and focus on an hourly goal, working on plotting my Sky Voyages trilogy and hopefully finishing The Siren and the Skyship…

But I have no idea if I can pull that off, or even if it’s a good idea, because of how BUSY life is for me right now.

But I wanted to be more open about my goals, even the ones I’m scared won’t pull through, so. That’s a hope. I don’t know if I’ll do it or not.

(And yes, I know Camp is in less than a week and I haven’t decided. Shush. Let me live on the edge for a minute. XD)

2. Which Stage Are You At?

  • a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
  • b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
  • c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
  • d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
  • e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

On which book? O_O I think I’m doing most of these for one story or another. XD (Trust me to make a tag I can’t answer very well. :P)

How about a run-down on my WIPs (works-in-progress)?

  • The Siren and the Skyship = Limbo, in preparation for getting back to planning the rest of the story/writing
  • Sky Voyages sequels (Siren and the Skyship, books 2 and 3) = Blueprints
  • The Other Half of Everything = Cleaning out a closet (because writing out of order/plotting is a confusing state of being and I don’t know what category it fits in)
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2) = Writing
  • Various short stories = Also writing (or rather, waiting to get back to writing)
  • We Otter Do It (flashfiction for the contest) = Re-reading it over and over because I for some reason think it’s hilarious/adorable and can’t stop. *hides*

3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)

He had a little half smile that melted her heart, and music that made it whole again. Or perhaps it was the music that broke her heart, and his smile that healed it. More likely, it was both.

(untitled short story snippet)

***

“Come on, what’s your price?”

“My what?”

“Price.”

Tare gave him a stony look.

Harold glanced up at the darkening winter sky as if looking for patience. “Come on, don’t pretend. Everyone has one. Name your price, I’ll meet it, and we can be done here.”

Tare shook his head. “What you seem to be having a lack of understanding about,” Tare said, very evenly and coldly, “is that I’m not everyone.”

(The Secret of Kedran’s Wood)

***

The door creaked open. A tall, wobbling stack of parchment pattered into the room on little furry paws. At least, that’s what it looks like when your otter secretary comes into your office carrying the mail.

I’m a respectable young man and a magician, and nobody would believe me if I told them my life is tyrannized by an adorable otter.

(opening of my flashfiction for said contest)

3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture of your writing space/notebooks/computer!)

I did do a little Spring Cleaning to go with this, and took the opportunity to take a picture of my two usual writing nooks.

Here’s my comfy chair I sit in a lot (to read or write), and my bullet-journal open to my blog planner page, with my writing journal open to the next blank page (which I should go fill once I finish this; ‘scuse me), and of course my laptop, with 5 years of NaNo stickers.

And here’s my desk. (Yes, that’s my inner Tare showing in the form of the leather jacket on the back of my chair… *cough*) Note this post open on my laptop in a gloriously amusing way. Also note my Middle-earth map (yesterday was Middle-earth Day or Tolkien Reading Day, also known as the day the Ring was destroyed and the Gondorian New Year, so happy belated all-of-that to you!). And some of my writing books/reference books, my favorites being If You Want to Write, Pain Free at Your PC, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and a large dictionary (because #helpful).

So there you are!


In case you’d like to do the tag, consider yourself tagged! Copy-pastable rules and list below…

Rules:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you
2. Share the picture
3. Answer the questions (naturally…) or even pick and choose which ones you answer
3.5. Tag 3 other writers and inform them that you tagged them (via comment/message/email or hey, even carrier-pigeon or smoke signal; I’m not picky)

Questions:

1. Dust-bunnies and Plot-bunnies: Reorganize Your Writing Goals (Or Make New Ones)

2. Which Stage Are You At? Expound!

a. Remodeling layouts (planning the story)
b. Painting the walls in colorful hues (writing)
c. Polishing the windows and scrubbing the floors and putting flowers in vases (editing)
d. Blueprints (not to the cleaning or remodeling yet… just drawing up plans for the very beginning inklings of a story)
e. Some combination of those things (cleaning out a closet)

3. Treasure From the Back of the Closet (Share one to three snippets you love!)

3.5. Bonus: Do Some Actual Spring Cleaning of Your Writer Self! (And share a picture!)


I hope you enjoyed this! 🙂 Which is your favorite snippet? Are you going to Realm Makers this year? Is Camp NaNo a yes or an absolutely-no for you right now? And would you like to do this tag? Because I’m tagging you if you would! Thanks for reading. ^_^