Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dear OTP (TCWT Blog Chain)

I am so freakishly excited for this TCWT prompt (thank you for your genius, John). The hardest part was picking just a few couples to write about (decisions!). Let me start off by saying that I hate ship bashing. The rudeness I've witnessed (especially from aggressive Johnlock/Sherlolly shippers . . . calm down, guys) is just plain mean. Each fangirl/boy is allowed his/her own opinion without judgement or cattiness. This has been and always will be a hate-free blog, so don't be afraid to leave a comment!

(Why yes, yes I have made a list of my OTPs--all 50 or so of them--and yes, yes I did consult it as I wrote this post.)

Prompt: “Write a letter to a fictional couple.”

https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/


Dear Tenrose,
Why must you hurt me in this way? I spent an entire season squeeing over your adorableness and you had to go and break my heart. Thanks for the week I spent wallowing in my grief with tissues and chocolate, grumbling over the first few episodes of S3.

But in all seriousness, you two are the ultimate OTP. You're funny, you're sweet, you're cute, you kick butt, and you save the universe time and time again. What more could a ship ask for?

Love,
A Dedicated Whovian Surrounded By Empty Boxes of Tissues





Dear Luneville,

You two should totally have been canon. I can't think of a better pairing in the entire series. You're both quirky and often considered misfits. But I think more than anything, what would've drawn the two of you together is that you're unconditionally kind. You love your friends like family and would do anything to help them. You're the perfect match. Fan-fiction doesn't lie.

Love,
A Potterhead Who Thinks You Two Should Just Kiss Already



Dear Sherlolly,

THE FRUSTRATION. You two have had three seasons of sparks and chemistry and nothing?! Sherlock, you idiot, say something to her. For a genius detective, you sure are oblivious to her attempts at romance. Even John sees it. Molly is willing to do anything for you, including pretending you were dead for two years.

If nothing happens in S4, I'm sending another letter of protest.

Love,
A Sherlolly Shipper With Too Many Feels




Dear Megstiel,

Yes, yes, I am in the minority here with the Supernatural fandom, but I can't help it. I never would've expected to ship an angel and a demon in this show, especially a demon whom I'd previously loathed with every fiber of my body. How in the world did I ever end up squealing over you two? Oh yes, because the writing is brilliant. Ahem. But that's another letter for another time.

Cas is undeniably sweet and adorable, and Meg, while rough around the edges, was willing to stay by his side when he was crazy!Cas and stuck in a hospital bed. They take care of each other, which is probably the most important thing a ship can have, especially in the Supernatural fandom.

But, like all the best OTPs, it must either never have existed at all or end in tragedy. *sighs heavily* But this is Supernatural, after all, so there's hope for you yet . . .

Love,
A Shipper Who Hopes Meg Finds Her Unicorn

Ignore the confused moose in the background. He knows nothing of your love.

Dear Hazel & Augustus,

Apparently you don't have a ship name because you're just too awesome to even need one. That's pretty cool, but it is a mouthful to say "Hazel and Augustus" when I could be saying "Haugustus" or something to that effect.

You two are smart, sarcastic, funny, and adorable together. You even fangirl/fanboy over books together. How cool is that?! And Gus bought Hazel plane tickets to Amsterdam using his wish from the genies in order to get her to meet her favorite author?! Yeah, he's a keeper.

Love,
A Fangirl Trying Not to Cry



Dear Cress & Thorne,

Corne? Thress? Do you even have a ship name? It doesn't really matter. You guys are awesome. And hilarious. And cute. I pretty much spent the whole time reading the book with a smile on my face. Cress is adorable. Thorne is awesome and reminds me of Captain Jack Harkness. Basically you two are my favorite characters in The Lunar Chronicles. Then.

Love,
A Huge Fan Waiting Impatiently For Winter

There are SO many cool pieces of fanart out there, it was hard to choose just one!

I could go on and on and on, but I won't for the sake of keeping this post at a relatively normal size. I would like to give a shout out to Javajunkie, Sizzy, Malec, Rumbelle, Dean/Jo, and Niles/Daphne.

Who are your OTPs? Please share!

Psst. Remember the "Bean Bag's and Sofa's Writer's Group" I talked about a little while ago? Well the site is finally up! Check it out!

and https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

An Ember In the Ashes (a book review)

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Release date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 443

Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.


Goodreads

I mentioned in my "Ten Bookish Goals For 2015" post back in December that I wanted to read and review a debut book. After consulting the owners of our local bookstore, I was handed this one. I went into it with high hopes and was not disappointed. (And it also helped me with my "read more fantasy" goal!)

An Ember In the Ashes sounds like it could be a dystopian book from the description, but it is so, so not. It's definitely fantasy, more like a Roman gladiator story than anything else. Yes, the government officials are terrifying and evil and brutal, but they are not President Snow or Jeanine Matthews. The story reminded me of Girl In the Arena (though a much, much better version of it) and the Mortal Instruments series.

The book is told through dual perspectives; Laia, an undercover slave working as a spy to free her brother from prison, and Elias, a once dutiful soldier who's having second thoughts. Though I liked both of the characters a lot, only Laia's perspective managed to keep me interested all the way through. Elias' got better over time, but his beginning was flat and confusing. I had to fight through his chapters for the first hundred pages until things started to pick up. Luckily, I love characters who try to infiltrate a system from the inside or work as a spy (think Charlie Bradbury from "Supernatural" or the members of the Order of the Phoenix), so Laia's storyline kept me hooked.

It's a familiar enough premise--imperfect fantasy society told through dual male and female perspectives--but has unique aspects that set it apart from the others like it. I love both Laia and Elias for different reasons. Laia agrees to be a spy for the Resistance, which is a group of people fighting the system, and becomes a slave for the cruel ruler, the Commandant. She needs to give the Resistance information in order to free her brother, who was captured by the government. Elias is a soldier participating in a competition to see who will become the emperor, but he feels conflicted about the way things are and forms a kind of friendship with Laia.

There are few characters who are central to the story, though sometimes it was hard to keep track of Elias' friends, who hardly did anything except confuse me. Laia was probably my favorite character, along with the more timid slave, Izzi. Laia was not ferociously brave and self-sacrificing like lots of young heroines are nowadays. She was scared, and she didn't like getting hurt, but she was able to find enough bravery to keep pushing for the sake of her brother. She didn't have bravery thrust upon her, but she grew into it, which I thought was really cool to see. Izzi was the slave she bonded with, and I like the friendship the two of them have. Laia brought Izzi out of her shell a little, and Izzi was sweet to her.

Elias is a character to feel sorry for. His mother is ruthless, and treats him like a soldier rather than a son. He has a rocky relationship with his best friend as the book goes on and their values start to change. He's constantly having to choose between what is right and what will keep him and his friends safe. And he has to figure out if his friends are really his friends.

I had a hard time with Elias' best friend, Helen. I liked her at first, then I didn't, then I wasn't sure. She's a confused character brought up in a world where she's taught that it's okay to kill people simply because you believe you're better than they are. I still can't decide if she's a bad guy or just someone in need of a friend to teach her what's right.

As for the plot, yes, there sadly was a love triangle. *sighs heavily* Maybe even a love square? I don't know. The whole time there was confusion from all of the characters, pointed looks and sleepless nights. Overall, it just wasn't believable for me. I knew the whole time which two characters would end up together (and though I won't spoil it for you, I was right!). It wasn't central to the plot though, thank god, so I can get past that.

The ending was satisfying, but definitely left room for a sequel. Nobody's sure if there's going to be one as the publisher only bought the one, but it sounds like there might be a movie! It would make a great movie if anything comes of it.

All in all, I would give this book






If you like fantasy, dual perspectives, and undercover spy work, this book is for you!

Have you read this book? What did you think? And what are your thoughts on love triangles/squares?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--April

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month she announces a new set of questions to answer about your characters so you can learn more about them. This month's theme is siblings! I love family dynamics, especially sibling dynamics, in books (and movies and TV shows). This meme made me realize that I actually don't have a lot of siblings in my stories, though. I'll definitely have to fix that.

Anyway, I couldn't decide between answering the questions for Cassandra and Cindy (unicorns from my MG fantasy trilogy) or Lane and Becca (from Beneath the Moon and Stars, my YA contemporary romance), so I'm bending the rules and doing both. ;)

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1. What is the first memory they have of each other?

The first memory Cindy has of Cassandra is actually right after Cassie was born. Cindy, being only two at the time and not realizing how fragile newborn unicorns really are, tried to play with her by tackling her. Cassandra wasn't hurt, though, and thought it seemed like fun. It didn't take long for them to bond.

Cassandra remembers being scared of everything that was going on in Fantasya when she was about two. Giants, trolls, and elves invaded Prosperity Border (their home), and their dad told Cindy to take Cassandra and hide somewhere safe. Cindy stayed with her for a long time.

Becca's four years older than Lane, so her first memory is holding Lane on the couch, surrounded by lots of concerned adults giving her different instructions about how to hold his head up and keep the blanket wrapped around him. She remembers his huge poof of black hair, which never really went away as he got older.

Lane was always running after Becca when he was little, the two of them finding their own entertainment during their mother's boring dinner parties by causing mischief. When Becca was eight, she had Lane keep watch while she dumped clear alcohol into the sink and replaced it with water. Their mother screamed at them afterward, but Lane remembers feeling immensely proud of the two of them while they were actually carrying out their plan. He felt like a spy, standing at the door, peeking through the crack for anyone coming.

2. Describe their relationship in 3 words.

Cassandra and Cindy's relationship: Lots of love.

Lane and Becca: Ups and downs.

3. What kind of things do they like to do together?

Cassandra and Cindy, when they aren't fighting for their lives, love games. Even as adults, they jump in and play tag with their kids or hide and seek. They have energy to spare, so running around is the perfect outlet for them.


Lane and Becca tend to bond over exasperation at their mother's petty antics. They hated it as kids, they hate it now. But it's fun to whisper and crack jokes behind their parents' backs, both of them trying to make the other laugh first. Mostly, they just like to talk. They may not have a whole lot in common, but they can count on each other for stimulating conversation when everyone else around them is more concerned with the paint choice for the room they're sitting in.


4. What was their biggest fight?

Cassandra and Cindy rarely fight. They know all too well that they can't accomplish as much alone as they can together. Their biggest fight lasted for maybe a day. Cassandra accidentally let slip that Cindy was pregnant, when she and her husband were waiting to tell everyone all at once at a nice dinner. But after realizing it wasn't that big of a deal, they both apologized and went back to being friends.

Lane and Becca are unpredictable. Sometimes they're both in fantastic moods, the next day they could be screaming at each other. Overall, their relationship is really good, but they fight like normal siblings.

5. How far would they go to save each other?

Pfft, Cassie and Cindy have literally risked their lives for each other from the time they were toddlers. I don't think there's anything they wouldn't do for the other.

Lane and Becca have each other's backs, for the most part. It's kind of necessary for survival when they're both living with their mother. Becca hates to see her little brother get hurt or picked on, but she's willing to slap him into shape if the situation requires it. Lane is generally willing to do all sorts of favors for Becca, too.

6. What are their pet peeves about each other?


Cindy likes to tease her little sister in front of other people, which is funny at first, but quickly becomes irritating for Cassandra. Cindy hates it when Cassie chews with her mouth open.

Lane thinks Becca is too uptight, Becca thinks Lane can't take anything seriously.

7. What are their favorite things about each other?

Cassandra and Cindy love their inside jokes. Whether they're whispering and giggling late at night or cracking each other up in the middle of a boring event, they're constantly laughing.

Though he'd never admit it and risk constant teasing from her, Lane thinks Becca has good advice. She's the first person he goes to when he's in a pinch because he knows he'll listen. Becca likes the way Lane balances her out when she's feeling stressed. He's always up for a game or a night out.

8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc?

Cassandra and Cindy are both energetic, outgoing, fun-loving, happy, and funny. Their coats are pure white.

Lane and Becca are both extremely sarcastic and smart. They're both eye-rollers and share the same loud laugh.

9. Who has the strongest personality?

It's a tough call, but Cassandra probably wins. Cindy's a little worn out from her little sister's energy.

Lane, definitely Lane. He is a strong E while Becca's an I.

10. How does their relationship change throughout your story?

Cindy wasn't around for much of Cassandra's childhood, as she was separated from her during the war in Fantasya, but when the two reunited, it was as if nothing had changed. If anything, their bond strengthened.

Lane and Becca fought with each other more at the beginning of the story, sick of the other's antics, very much needing their own space. They soon found a common cause to unite them. I won't spoil what happens at the end.

Tell me about the siblings you've written! Or, even better, linkup with Cait and talk about them on your own blog. Who are some of your favorite fictional families?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Let Them Eat Books, Er, Cake

Thanks for tagging me, Miel! :) A meme about books AND food?! I'm in.

Flour
A book that was a little slow to start off but really picked up as it went along.

 
I'll go with one I'm reading right now, which is a debut book, An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It was a little flat and confusing at first, but intriguing enough to make me keep going. I'm so glad I did! I'm about 100 pages from the end and it's really good. It's a familiar enough premise--imperfect fantasy society told through dual male and female perspectives--but has unique aspects that set it apart from the others like it. Laia and Elias are the protagonists, and I love them both. Laia agrees to be a spy for the Resistance, which is a group of people fighting the system, and becomes a slave for the cruel ruler, the Commandant. She needs to give the Resistance information in order to free her brother, who was captured by the government. Elias is a soldier participating in a competition to see who will become the emperor, but he feels conflicted about the way things are and forms a kind of friendship with Laia. I'll post a review about it on my blog once I finish, but I definitely recommend it.

Butter
A book that had a rich, great plot.



Ooh, the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce is so. good. Honestly, I've been a little disappointed with her other series (although I also enjoyed Protector of the Small), but Alanna's stories have kept me up at night. The first one is probably my favorite, but they're all solid 5-star reads. If you're looking for good epic medieval fantasy, look no further.

Eggs
A book you thought was going to be bad but actually turned out quite enjoyable.



(First of all, eggs are delicious. Why would you put eggs and something you thought was going to be bad together?)

It's a tie between the Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelley Armstrong and The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I entered a giveaway a couple years back to win a random box of books, and the Darkness Rising series was what I won. I was a little skeptical, because paranormal wasn't really my thing, and the premise didn't intrigue me. But I was about to go on a road trip, and road trips mean lots of books, so I brought it along. I don't think I slept until I finished the series. I was pleasantly surprised.

I had no interest whatsoever in reading The Host, because sci-fi? Aliens? (Ironic, since sci-fi and aliens pretty much occupy my days now.) Stephenie Meyer? Meh. But I saw a preview for the movie and my best friend recommended it to me, so I checked it out. Over 600 pages in two days. Yeah, it was pretty freaking awesome.

Sugar
A sugary, sweet book.



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell takes the cake. Anything this woman writes is gold, and Fangirl is no different. Her characters, her dialogue, her simple plots, etc. Her books are just genius. Fangirl is funny, fluffy in the best ways, and a quick read.

Icing
A book that covered every single element that you enjoy about a book (funny moments, action moments, sad moments, etc.).



Pfft, Harry Potter for sure. (If you didn't see that coming, you need glasses.)

Sprinkles
A book series that you can kind of turn back to for a little pick me up when you’re feeling down.



The Calvin and Hobbes series by Bill Watterson. :) This is definitely my comfort series (other than Harry Potter). I can grab a book from my treasury, flip to a random page, and get a guaranteed smile on my face. Even if I just read a single comic strip (though they're usually too addictive to just read one), I feel happier. It's a great way to start the day.

The cherry on top
Your favorite book this year so far.



Ooh, tricky one. But probably Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I've said for a while now that I would read it, so I finally did. And it is awesome. Seriously, Celaena is a fantastic heroine. She's hysterical, rough around the edges, totally kicks butt. Aside from not knowing how to spell or pronounce anyone's names, it's a great read.

(Also, the cover is so pretty. I want a poster of it hanging on my wall.)

Tag, you're it! Feel free to take this for your own blog. And here's a bonus question for the comments: "Raisins" What book surprised you, in good ways or bad? (Because we've all been surprised by raisins disguising themselves as chocolate chips at some point. Sneaky little devils.)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Wrap-Up

Books I Read

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

4/5

I don't know why I didn't read this sooner! It was great from beginning to end. I loved the characters (especially Gansey) and the plot was so unique that I can't really compare it to anything. It's a paranormal book that'll appeal to people who don't like paranormal, as well. I'm excited to start The Dream Thieves.

Doctor Who: Official Guide on How to Be a Time Lord by BBC


4/5

This was a fun, fluffy read. Lots of doodles and quizzes and trivia. It's kind of like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for "Doctor Who."

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

5/5


My little brother's been begging me to read this for a while now, so I finally did. It's hysterical. It's super short--I read it in less than an hour--and is super creative the whole way through. Both younger and older kids will love it.

I also reread most of Insurgent before watching the movie, but since I didn't finish it, it doesn't count. :P But I would definitely give it a 5/5.

Movies I Watched

"Stuck In Love"

5/5

Love. This. Movie. It's funny, it has a great cast (Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, and Nat Wolff in the same movie?), and awesome music. Plus, it's about writers. It can't get much better than that.

"Iron Man"

3.5/5

Yeah, I hadn't actually seen (and understood) a Marvel movie before now. *hides in shame* I'm fixing that. "Iron Man" was great, as I expected. :) Tony Stark is hilarious, even if he can be stubborn and a little stuck up sometimes (but in the best ways). I did feel like a lot of it was set up, but that's to be expected from the first movie.

"Iron Man 2"

4/5

This one was so good! I wasn't expecting Natasha Romanoff to be in this series, so that was a pleasant surprise. She truly is awesome. I liked the villain in this movie much better than the first one. And we got to see more of Rhodey, who I think is great. Definitely a good sequel.

 "Notting Hill"

5/5

I love simple movies like this and "You've Got Mail" and "The Hundred-Foot Journey." William's character is so sweet (and funny) and I cracked up more than once at scenes with his roommate, Spike. But all of characters are great and so different from each other. Even Anna, who sometimes got on my nerves, was well-written.

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame"

4/5

I should've watched this Disney movie sooner. It's short and sweet and is a great story. The ending was fantastic, too, though I won't give anything away here. The friendship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda is what really made the movie.

"Captain America"

5/5

Probably my favorite Marvel movie I've watched so far. Two words: Peggy Carter. I am so excited to watch "Agent Carter" now that I've seen for myself just how freaking awesome she is. Steve is sweet, Dr. Erskine made me sad, and Bucky made me even sadder. But the ending made me want to watch the sequel immediately, and I didn't have it on hand, so that was the tiniest bit frustrating.

"Thor"

4/5

LOKI. I knew I liked him in "The Avengers" for a reason. He's such a flawed character and I love it! I don't think he's a true villain. He's just lost and has made some bad choices. Also, Thor interacting with humans has got to be one of the best things I've seen in a superhero movie. I just about lost it when he smashed his cup on the ground. I'm sure you've all seen it before, so I won't show you again.





Whoops, my hand slipped.

"Veronica Mars"

5/5

This was the perfect ending to the series, even though I'm extremely sad that it's over. I'm just glad I got to watch it so soon after finishing season three. I can't even imagine how the fans felt waiting for seven years for a conclusion. (And the Sherlockians think they had it bad.) I highly recommend this show to anyone and everyone.

"Anastasia" (a rewatch)

4/5

Another great Disney movie! I'd watched this years ago but only remembered a vague scene of Anya walking through the snow. Yeah, it was time for a rewatch. It has everything a animated movie requires: good characters, humor, suspense, and people randomly bursting into song. The villain is delightfully freaky, too.

"Insurgent"

 5/5

I was a little worried about what they were doing to the movie when I saw the trailers and the negative reviews online, but I was pleasantly surprised when I watched it. It was fantastic! Yes, they did take some liberties with a few things, but I found the changes only enhanced the story. I actually like it when the movie strays away from the book a little bit (but only a little), because then we're not watching something that's exactly the same as what we've read. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend that Divergent fans watch it, too.

Quotes I Wrote

Nothing very quotable this month, sadly. I've mostly been doing a lot of planning for my Camp NaNoWriMo book, Plot Bunnies, which you can read about here. April 1st, tomorrow!


Obsessions I Acquired

"Teen Wolf"/the music from "Teen Wolf" When I started watching "Teen Wolf" (thanks for another great rec, Cait), one thing I hadn't expected was how great the music was going to be. I've made a lot of wonderful discoveries because of it. Some of my favorite songs from the series so far (I'm watching season three now, so no spoilers, please!) are "Who Are You Really" and "We Must Be Killers" by Mikky Ekko, "Black Sheep" and "Kill of the Night" by Gin Wigmore, and "Just a Little Bit" by Kids of 88. They're all very catchy, though, so consider yourself warned.

Tumblr I finally gave in to the temptation, and while my productivity might not be any better because of it, it's definitely a great place to go for a good laugh. I originally got on to follow some of my favorite authors who have active Tumblr blogs (like Rainbow Rowell, Amie Kaufman, and Meagan Spooner), but the fandom world sucked me in as it always does. And let me tell you, it's a great time to be alive on Tumblr as a member of the Supernatural fandom. We truly rule the website. Just like the Sherlock fandom is notorious for reaching Moriarty levels of insanity, the SPN fandom is known for their uncanny ability to find a completely relevant gif from the show for any post on there. It's especially hysterical when they reply in all caps with something like "HOW DO YOU GUYS HAVE A GIF FOR EVERYTHING?!" It's tons of fun.

This video. This is the video I will show to anyone I'm trying to convince to watch "Supernatural." The song choice is perfect, the editing is flawless, and the whole thing captures the heart of the story and the characters. I can't stop watching it!

Marvel movies. (Thank you, Cait and nevillegirl, for getting me hooked!) Apparently it's a crime to call yourself a fangirl if you haven't watched at least one Marvel movie. As you can see from the movies section of this post, I've fixed that and have not stopped watching.

Fanart While I'm not very good (yet), I've been practicing and am having lots of fun trying to copy some of my favorite fictional characters. I think I'm doing okay. It's definitely going to take time to get as good as some artists I've seen online (yowza).

Picture of the Month

Your generic demon eye





By the way, Alexia Stevens and I are starting a group for teen writers called Bean Bags and Sofa's Writers Group. If you're interested in joining our community, please take our survey so we know what to add!

How was your March?

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Perfect Patience Award

My dad at "Sushi and Pizza" nominated me for an award he created called the Perfect Patience award, which is awesome, because us bloggers/readers/fangirls (or fanboys)/writers have to at least try to be patient all. The. Time.


You have shown exceptional patience in the face of a frustrating situation. You are the embodiment of graceful waiting. The rules are simple:

1. Post this picture on your blog.
2. Answer the 5 questions I've asked.
3. Tag 3 friends whose patience knows no bounds (or from whom you want to hear, patient or not).

 
Questions:

1. Is there something on the horizon that will arrive soon, but not soon enough for you?

The fourth season of "Sherlock." The ninth season of "Doctor Who." The next episode of "Supernatural." (Are you sensing a theme here?) Winter by Marissa Meyer. The last "Mockingjay" movie. The results of a novel contest I entered through Scholastic. The "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movie. Basically loving something that comes out in installments is hard.


2. What are three things that absolutely try your patience?

1. Hiatus/waiting (as you can clearly see from my answer above). Having friends in different time zones is hard, because you might have to wait eight hours before that person wakes up and sees your message. 2. Someone's inability to make a decision. 3. Trying to explain something to someone who just isn't listening.

3. Do you have any nervous habits or rituals that may not be obvious to anyone around you, but that help you stretch out your patience?

Usually taking deep breaths is the best way to go about it, unless you're going to be waiting for a very long time. In that case, I try to pass the time by reading and writing. If I'm waiting for new episodes/seasons of a show, I'll rewatch episodes (though even that can make me more frustrated) or write fan-fiction about it. Pinterest is a great place to go to express your issues with patience with other fangirls. Texting/e-mailing/messaging something in all caps to someone who's waiting with you is very therapeutic. Especially if you can count on them to write back in all caps.

4. In professionally-produced articles or writing, which makes you crazier: grammar errors or spelling mistakes?

Ugh, probably spelling mistakes. Certain grammar rules can be tricky for anybody to learn and practice, but it's so easy to open a new tab and double check that you're spelling something correctly. It takes all of three seconds.

5. Sherlock Holmes or Sheldon Cooper? Which roommate would try your patience more?

I would definitely rather live with Sherlock. While they both can be condescending and have annoying habits, Sheldon seems way more particular. Sherlock would be the kind of roommate who wouldn't mind my clutter if I were in the middle of a project, because he'll make a mess, too, if he's on a case. Plus, it's Sherlock freaking Holmes.

I tag . . .

-Cait at "Paper Fury" (because "Supernatural" and "Sherlock" and time zone issues)
-Aisha (you can do it in the comments, since you don't have a blog. Though you should totally get a blog because that would be awesome.) (because you're an extremely patient critique partner who doesn't mind waiting a little longer for me to look over your writing--thank you)
-nevillgirl at "Musings From Neville's Navel" (because being a fangirl is rough, and I'm sure liking Game of Thrones is especially difficult right now since the show is going to reach the ending before the books)

But I would love to hear from all of you! :) So anybody who's reading this, feel free to grab the award for yourself and blog about it or just answer the questions in the comments. Have fun!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Beautiful People Linkup--March

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful People." Each month she announces a new set of questions to answer about your characters so you can learn more about them. Since Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, I'm going to try and learn a little bit more about my protagonist, a seventeen-year-old character living in a writer's head by the name of Indigo Sparks. She's the hero of her story, a YA fantasy romance, who is a revered dragon slayer. She's short, wears pastel rainbow sweaters, loves Metallica, and kicks butt while looking adorable and not at all scary. The Writer has unfortunately decided to pair her up with another character in the book, a boy she loathes but can't escape.

PAPERFURY

1. What is their secret desire?

Indigo's pretty much an open book and often voices her opinions, even when they aren't wanted. She's filterless. But her not-so-secret desires are to fight The Writer tooth and nail to create her own story, one where she has the ending she wants. Upon discovering her friends' fates, she wants to help them out, too.


2. What is the best and brightest moment they experience during the story?

Probably everything she does in the climax, but I won't give that away here. ;)

3. What are the emotional places your characters are afraid to go to?

She doesn't like thinking about her past. It's too painful for her. Her parents never really got involved in her life. They forgot to show up to school productions, they forgot her birthday on more than one occasion, they wouldn't be able to tell anyone what her hobbies are. They were always busy with work and their friends and keeping up appearances in the neighborhood, but Indigo can't remember the last time they played a game with her. After she got sucked into the fantasy realm where her story takes place, she hasn't been able to find a way back to Earth, but what she's scared to admit is that she doesn't want to go back.

4. Is there a place/city/room where they will never go? Why?

Indie's always made a promise to herself that she wouldn't step foot into the morgue, where all the characters who met their demise end up, but that promise might change. She's also never seen the wing of the hospital where all the half-formed characters and ideas live, mostly because she's never had a reason to.

5. If they were permanently leaving town, what would they easily throw out? What would they refuse to part with? (Why?)

Her books and music and favorite clothes would come with her no matter what, but if she had to leave something behind for the sake of easy transportation, she'd be okay with throwing out her old drawings. She used to draw pictures for her mom and dad all the time when she was younger, but one day she noticed her mom using them as place mats or coasters. Then she noticed that they often ended up in the trash with coffee stains or sour cream smudges. She gathered the rest of them up and stuffed them in her closet and hasn't drawn another one since.

6. What do they want (consciously and tangibly)?

A happy ending. A family. Safety. Oh, and a bigger bookshelf.

7. On the other hand: what do they need (on the emotional, subconscious level)?

See above.

8. If they could change one thing about themselves, what would it be?

Indie learned a long time ago that wanting to change who she was did nothing but frustrate her, so instead she's learned to embrace herself, flaws and all. Though sometimes she wishes she were taller so she could reach things off the top shelves. It's especially infuriating when she has to hop up and down to read the spines of books that are higher up.

9. What is the most humiliating event of their life?

When she forgot her lines during her monologue for the middle-school play. She vowed after that to become a master of improv and not care what anybody thought about her if she messed up.

10. What things do they turn to when they need a bit of hope?

Indigo's best friend, Harper, isn't exactly a ray of sunshine. She's a good person to go to when Indie needs her butt kicked into gear or someone to tell her to snap out of it. But when she needs hope and comfort, she goes to the character therapy group and talks to her friends there. The group therapist has become a sort of mom figure for her.

Tell me about your characters! Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! :) To celebrate, I'm sharing a list of some of my favorite books that have green covers. You need to read all of them ASAP. Seriously.

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire/Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling




You are basically guaranteed that at least one Harry Potter book will appear on any book meme I fill out. I don't know what you've been reading all these years if you haven't read Harry Potter yet. And if you haven't picked up the books yet, close this tab, walk away, and go read it. Immediately.


2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan



I blame Rick Riordan for my interest in Greek mythology. I love this series! I devoured each book in just a night or two. It's been a couple years since I've read it, but they deserve a reread soon. For those of you who watched the movies but didn't read the books, read the books. The movies didn't do them nearly enough justice.


3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell




(I freaking love this cover!) I have whole new appreciations for this book after discovering some of the better fan-fiction on the internet (SuperWhoLock!) and I've even written some of my own. It's a great warm-up before diving in to your WIP.


But back to Fangirl. It's a great novel with fantastic characters and dialogue, like every Rainbow Rowell book I've ever read. It's perfect for writers, introverts, fans of Harry Potter, and anyone who likes a good contemporary romance story.


4. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull


This fantasy series only gets better as it goes on! Fablehaven does have a lot of set-up, but towards the end of the book, it's almost impossible to put down. It's definitely one of my favorite series. If you like magical creatures, fantasy, and adventure, pick this one up.

5. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein




This book is just plain fun. It's a good middle-grade book targeted for readers that are about 10-12, but I really enjoyed it, too. It's full of riddles and mystery and games that make you just involved in the story as the main characters. It's a nice, quick read.

6. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare



I love this series. It's a shame that nothing ever came of the second movie, because I really liked the first one. Hopefully they do come out with the TV show. The family dynamics in this, as well as the urban fantasy setting and the great side characters, are what makes it amazing. I absolutely adore Isabelle and Simon, and even the villains because they're so complicated. Plus, the plot twists! Cassandra Clare loves to mess with your head. Don't say I didn't warn you.

7. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King



Though Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is my favorite book by her, pretty much anything you read by A.S. King is guaranteed to be good. There hasn't been a single one I didn't like. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is hard to put down, because you spend the whole book going, "What is happening here?" The feel of the book reminds me of stories like The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp and Paper Towns by John Green. I also love that we got to hear parts of the story from different perspectives, including inanimate objects. So creative.

8. A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron



There's a dog on the cover, so you know what that means: You're going to cry. And you will. Lots of times. It's a sweet story about different incarnations of the same dog finding his owner in each of his lives as she grows up. It's a super sweet story that won't take you long at all to read.

What are your favorite green books? Leave a comment!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Camp NaNoWriMo

Who participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? I am! (I'm hosting a private cabin, too, so if you want to be in it, comment or e-mail with your username.)

This isn't my first time doing it, but it is the first time I'm actually going to be writing something. I've used Camp NaNo in the past as a way to motivate myself to do edits. But I've been doing a lot of editing lately, and I'm itching to start a new project. I'm especially excited for the Word Wars!

I'm actually really excited about my idea. The inspiration came from a picture I found on Pinterest that made me laugh.

I'm hoping it's not too small or fuzzy, but in case you can't make it out, it says: A writer's brain. "What the hell is that?" "Oh, just my mind thinking of my next plot."

The working title for my story is Plot Bunnies, and it's about the characters living in a writer's brain. They all live together, even if they're not from the same book. They hang out, talk, go to group therapy (if they even survive their book), etc. One day, the main character's best friend and sidekick from her novel discovers that The Writer is planning on killing her during an epic battle. The MC can't let this happen, so she organizes a group of characters--heroes and villains alike--to start a rebellion and take over their stories. This is if they can survive edits, character cuts, Writer's Block, the Pinterest vortex, and the Pit of Doubt.

Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year? What's your story about?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Wrap-Up

Books I Read

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

5/5

Loved this book! It's by far my favorite classic. The writing is beautiful, the characters are fantastic, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it reads very quickly. I love Scout. She's a great protagonist--spunky, smart, has a mind of her own, wise, and a total tomboy. (I can fully appreciate my dog's name now after reading the book.)

1984 by George Orwell


2.5/5

This was an especially cool book considering how much dystopian I read. You can totally see the similarities to The Hunger Games in this. If it weren't so depressing, I'd rate it higher.

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

4/5


It took a little bit to get going, but the second half of the book flew by. I stayed up into the early morning to read it. It was action-packed almost the whole time. I really liked the different POVs, too. But my favorite part was the family aspect. The three main characters--Dai, Jin Ling, and Mei Yee--were so sweet with each other. They all have very distinct personalities, but it's impossible to choose a favorite! I loved them all. I also thought it was cool that it was set in China. Most YA books seem to be set in America, but I like it when authors branch out and pick a different country. Some of the drug runs and infiltration missions Dai and Jin Ling pulled off reminded me of "Firefly."

Concluding by Henry Green

2/5

This was quirky to say the least. I liked all the different storylines, the fact that the entire book is set during one day, and the bizarre ending, but it was hard to keep track of everything. All of the girls at the boarding school have names that start with 'M,' which made it nearly impossible to set them apart. And since the story is set during one day, a lot of the book was long and dull.

The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

DNF

Oh my god was this poorly written. I couldn't take it. I read a total of 150 pages of stiff dialogue, cheesy descriptions, and cliches before tossing it aside. I'm pretty sure it was meant to be a YA book, considering the main characters are 14-15, but they seemed so young. It read like an MG book, which I'd be fine with if it didn't read like a bad MG book.

Movies I Watched

"To Kill a Mockingbird"

3/5

This was a good adaptation, but it didn't do the book nearly enough justice. They left out a lot of characters and subplots, which I know they have to do to shorten it, but the details are what make the book special.

"Chicken Little"

4/5

My brother and I used to watch this movie over and over and over again when we were little. I'd forgotten how funny it was! It's short and super cute.

"Emma"

3/5

Not a bad story, but not a particularly interesting one. It's really hard to follow at first, because all the characters seem the same. But once you can keep track of everyone, it's pretty good.

"Clueless"

3/5

We watched this after watching "Emma." The way they adapted it is clever, and it's funny. I couldn't stand the main character, but it's a good story.

"The Imitation Game"

5/5

This movie was so, so good. It's probably my favorite WWII story, too. Benedict Cumberbatch was incredible (as usual), the story was amazing and tragic, and the music was fantastic. I went to see it with my mom, then went again the next day with my dad. It was just as good, if not better, the second time. If you liked "The Theory of Everything," you'll like this. They're similar artistically, are both stories about geniuses, and both have great lead actors.

"Pride & Prejudice" 

4/5

I liked this one a lot better than Emma. I could keep track of the characters, I actually liked the main character, and the story was a ton more interesting. Keira Knightley's a really good actress. I do recommend watching it with subtitles on, though, otherwise you'll miss half the dialogue!

Quotes I Wrote

"There he is," Ross said, in a voice that wasn’t exactly comforting. It was the kind of voice that someone used when saying, "This is where we’re going to bury him," or "It was nice knowing you."
--August Knight and the Sword of Gold

"Holy banana split of the seven realms."
--August Knight and the Sword of Gold

"You’ve never heard of 'Buzzcut Season?'" Jenny gaped at me.
"Nope."
Jenny began to sing the song. "Explosions on TV—"
"Still don’t know the song."
"—All the girls with heads inside a dream—"
"I. Don’t. Know. It."
"—We live beside the pool—"
"You can keep singing, but I still don’t know the song."
"—Everything is good."
--Sunflower Springs

The worst part was the hugging. Kids, adults, it didn’t matter. They all wanted to wrap their sweaty, germy arms around me and hold me close. They wanted to suffocate me with their kindness. They wanted to choke me with their, “I’m so sorry”s. There was no escaping it. They all wanted to touch me, no matter how hard I tried to stay away.
--A Day to Remember

This is a poem I entered for my library's poetry contest called Stardust:

Falling wishes hit the ground,
And glistening stardust scatters ‘round.
I’ll keep some in a jar for you,
And plant them in your yard to
Watch the golden flowers grow.
And if your dreams survive the snow,
You’ll know your wish came true,
And you can plant some stardust, too.


Obsessions I Acquired

"Firefly." Even though there's only one season, it's really good and should've stayed on longer. It reminded me of "Torchwood," but more steampunk and less alien. I'm excited to watch the movie!

"Quiz Up"/"Trivia Crack." My brother and I recently got tablets and had these two apps download. So. Addicting. "Trivia Crack" is a lot like Trivial Pursuit with a few changes that make it extra fun. "Quiz Up" is my favorite, though. You can choose specific categories like "Doctor Who" or "Young Adult Fiction." They have every category you could possibly think of, and then some. You can level up in those categories to get cool titles, move up the ranks the more you play, and play against friends. If anyone reading this plays either of these apps, leave your username in the comments so we can play! :)

"Clarence." This is such a weird and random TV show, but it's hysterical. It's kind of like what "Invader Zim" would look like if GIR were the main character of the show. Each episode is only ten or fifteen minutes long, but they're so funny.

I recently discovered that I'm good at drawing eyes. They look pretty realistic, and now that I've got the hang of it I've been trying to draw the eyes of different celebrities. They're all so different, so it's definitely a challenge to get the colors and shapes right.

Picture of the Month

Regular eye, plus Benedict Cumberbatch's eye

Jensen Ackles' eye

3 human eyes (the one at the top is mine), plus a cat eye


By the way, Alexia Stevens and I are starting a group for teen writers called Bean Bags and Sofa's Writers Group. If you're interested in joining our community, please take our survey so we know what to add!

How was your February?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How Music Influences My Writing (TCWT Blog Chain)

Whew, it's been a while since I participated in TCWT. But it's so much fun, and I'm hoping to do it more consistently! This month's prompt is: How does music relate to your writing? As I love listening to music, especially when I write, this post practically wrote itself. I listen to music pretty much every time I write. In fact, I'm listening to my writing playlist as I type this. (Avril Lavigne's "I'm With You," is playing, in case you were wondering.)

There are a few artists/albums I listen to all the time, no matter what I'm writing. Taylor Swift is my absolute favorite singer, so she's somebody I listen to a lot. I also love The Civil Wars, "The Fault In Our Stars" and "The Hunger Games" soundtracks, OneRepublic, Lorde, Imagine Dragons, and the music from "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock."

But then I also have specific soundtracks I create for each book I'm working on. I love to picture my books as movies (I even cast certain actors and actresses as each of my characters), so the soundtrack is basically the list of music that would play at different parts of the story. Luckily I'm not someone who gets easily distracted by lyrics, so I can listen to it and write at the same time. Here are some soundtrack examples:

August Knight and the Sword of Gold

I'm still working on this one, but so far the songs on this soundtrack are "Wonderland" by Taylor Swift and "Run Boy Run" by Woodkid. I got the 1989 soundtrack right at the beginning of November, so that album always reminds me of NaNoWriMo. As soon as I heard "Wonderland" I knew it fit with my book. I kept thinking about the magical land the characters get sucked into, Librum, when I listened to it. And "Run Boy Run" is pretty self-explanatory. August and his friends do a lot of running. There's a lot of action and danger in the book.

Beneath the Moon and Stars

This is my favorite soundtrack, and it's also one of the longest. I listened to all of these songs constantly before making it, so it wasn't hard to put together at all. These songs are all kind of sad or bittersweet, a lot more mellow.

"Beneath Your Beautiful" by Labrinth feat. Emeli Sandé
"Dark Days" by Punch Brothers
"I'm Alone With You" by Weeping Radish
"Sad Beautiful Tragic" by Taylor Swift
"Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane (This would be the song playing during credits.)
"Say Something" by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera (This was the first song to end up on the soundtrack. As soon as I heard it, I knew I'd use it.)
"Wait" by M83
"All of the Stars" by Ed Sheeran
"Long Way Down" by Tom Odell (I've always imagined this song playing in the background during a specific scene towards the end of the book where Kya and Lane are in the grocery store.)
"Lay Me Down" by Sam Smith
"All of Me" by John Legend
"Stay or Leave" by Dave Matthews (This is another song that I've imagined playing during a specific scene. Kya and Lane dance at a New Year's Eve party, and I never mention what song they're dancing to, but this song's always played in my head when I write/edit it.)
"Photograph" by Ed Sheeran (This song would play at the end of the movie, right before the credits.)
"Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift
"Tenerife Sea" by Ed Sheeran
"You Are In Love" by Taylor Swift (This is basically Lane's theme song.)

Cosmo

This soundtrack is a little more upbeat, lots of pop, lots of songs you'd hear on the radio. I can totally imagine Cosmo and Celeste rocking out to some of these in Cosmo's bedroom.

"Change" by Taylor Swift
"Starlight" by Taylor Swift
"Raise Your Glass" by P!nk (There's a scene during a dance at Cosmo and Celeste's school where this song fits right in. Celeste puts it in as a request and dedicates it to all the outcasts that have been bullied there.)
"Same Love" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert
"Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
"Fix You" by Coldplay
"Sweeter Than Fiction" by Taylor Swift
"Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera
"Who Says" by Selena Gomez
"Roar" by Katy Perry
"Apologize" by OneRepublic
"Welcome to New York" by Taylor Swift (Cosmo is set in New York, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use this song. ;) )

The Fantasya trilogy

The songs on this soundtrack are very loud, big, uplifting. Definitely the kind of music you want for an MG fantasy book.

"Carry On" by Fun.
"Keep Holding On" by Avril Lavigne
"Gone, Gone, Gone" by Phillip Phillips
"Long Live" by Taylor Swift
"Beautiful Day" by U2 (This would play during the credits.)
"Unpack Your Heart" by Phillip Phillips
"Feel Again" by OneRepublic

Flightless Birds

If the soundtrack for BTMAS wasn't my favorite, this one would be. It's the longest, with lots of dark, haunting songs. A lot of them are from "Hunger Games" albums, because they fit the dystopian theme so well.

"Safe & Sound" by Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars
"My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark" by Fall Out Boy
"Atlas" by Coldplay
"Come & Get It"
"Not With Haste" by Mumford & Sons
"Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence
"The Ruler and the Killer" by Kid Cudi
"Place For Us" by Mikky Ekko
"Kiss Me" by Ed Sheeran
"What You Wanted" by OneRepublic
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Lorde
"Coming Home" by Sylar Grey
"We Remain" by Christina Aguilera
"Empire" by Shakira
"Burn" by Ellie Goulding
"Counting Stars" by OneRepublic (As I've mentioned before, this song in particular was a huge inspiration to me when I was writing the book. It fits Flynn and Raven's story so well.)

Secrets

This soundtrack is very similar to the Fantasya one. I didn't want anything too depressing, because the book(s), while action-packed, are very hopeful. I also got introduced to more Imagine Dragons songs through this soundtrack because I loved "It's Time" so much.

"Secrets" by OneRepublic (I had to include this. It was too perfect.)
"I'm With You" by Avril Lavigne
"State of Grace" by Taylor Swift
"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
"Catch My Breath" by Kelly Clarkson

Sing a Song of Raindrops

I tried to include a whole mix of music in this soundtrack, because the characters have such different tastes. The book also goes up and down, sometimes it's light-hearted and sometimes it's depressing, so I had the soundtrack mirror that.

"Too Late" by M83
"Angel on Fire" by Antony and the Johnsons (There's a character in this book that controls fire magic, so this fits perfectly.)
"Au Revoir" by OneRepublic
"Buzzcut Season" by Lorde
"Dead in the Water" by Ellie Goulding
"Freewill" by Rush
"Ho Hey" by The Lumineers
"Hopeless Wanderer" by Mumford & Sons
"If I Die Young" by The Band Perry
"In My Arms" by Plumb
"Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts
"Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons
"Starlight" by Muse
"We Own the Sky" by M83
"Yellow Flicker Beat" by Lorde

The Sorceress

A lot of these songs remind me of songs that would be featured in the credits of a movie. I can easily imagine using "I Will Wait" or "Home" or "Counting On You" for the credits of The Sorceress.

"Eyes Open" by Taylor Swift (There's a battle scene towards the beginning of the book that I wrote while listening to this. I can almost guarantee that the scene wouldn't have turned out as well as it did if I hadn't been listening to it.)
"Kingdom Come" by The Civil Wars
"Lights" by Ellie Goulding
"Counting On You" by Mikey Wax
"Home" by Phillip Phillips
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol
"I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
"Just a Girl" by No Doubt (Anya isn't allowed to join the army because she's a girl, and she's often discriminated against because of her gender.)
"Gone" by Ionna Gika
"Human" by Christina Perri (People sometimes think Anya's invincible. They put all kinds of pressure on her to be perfect and never fail a battle. As someone who's only human, this wears on her.)

Do you listen to music while you write? Do you make soundtracks for your books? Why or why not? What are your favorite songs?


Be sure to check out the other blogs that are participating!
28th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)