Saturday, February 27, 2016

Beautiful People--February

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 Valentine's Day! I'll be answering the questions for two couples, Kya and Lane from a YA contemporary romance, Beneath the Moon and Stars, and Lila and Melody from a YA paranormal romance, 'Til the Last Star Dies.

1. How did they first meet?

Kya and Lane ran into each other at the self-checkout counter in Kya's local grocery store. Lane immediately introduced himself and started babbling on about the disgusting flavorings they put in strawberry Pop-Tarts while Kya tried to keep her head from spinning.

Lila started talking to Melody at a bar when she sensed something was wrong. As a witch, Lila has the ability to see auras, and Melody's was jagged and full of static, like an old TV. They talked for a little while until Melody got too nervous about her cover being blow and ran off.

2. What were their first impressions of each other?

Lane immediately liked Kya, or rather he was intrigued by her and wanted to get to know her better. But Kya prefers to take everything a bit more slowly, and Lane was a little much for their first meeting. She didn't really know what to think at first, she just thought of him as an enthusiastic and overly-friendly stranger.

It was a similar situation with Lila and Melody. Lila was drawn to Melody's aura right away. She wanted to put her at ease however she could, even with just some innocent conversation. Melody was too scared of the people she was running from finding her to focus much on Lila, but she was nice enough. She didn't meet many nice people in her line of work.

3. How long have they been a couple?

That depends on which part of the story we're talking about, and whether they're still a couple by the end . . .

4. How committed/loyal are they to each other? Would they break up over a secret or a disagreement? Could stress drive them apart? Would they die for each other?

Kya and Lane are very committed, and they work hard to keep things as smooth as possible despite the various complications of their home lives. Said circumstances could, however, prove to make things difficult for them.

In Lila and Melody's world, you have to be willing to die for the other once you get close to someone. It's survival. There's danger around every corner, that means you need to be a team. But they love each other more than anything, so it makes it easier.

5. List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something, etc….and feel free to mention other non-food quirks!)

I'm not sure if I have 5 quirks for each of them, but they all definitely have at least one.

Lane's "food quirks":

1. Any tea he has needs to be steeped for no more and no less than four minutes for the perfect amount of flavor.
2. No end pieces of bread for him, thanks.

Kya's "food quirks":

1. Blue M&M's taste the best out of all of them.
2. Especially out of a big bag rather than a snack pack.
3. Popcorn must be heavily buttered, otherwise what's the point?

Lila's "food quirks":

1. Stolen french fries (i.e. taken off of Melody's plate when she isn't looking) are preferred to the ones already on her plate.

Melody's "food quirks":

1. She hates any "extras" in her coffee. Just black is fine.
2. Cookies extra crunchy are way better than soft and chewy.
3. Breakfast for dinner is a crime.

6. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?

Oh, so many people for Lane and Kya. Lane's mother and basically all of her bridge club friends disapprove of someone like Kya (who isn't rich, doesn't go to a private school, etc.), and Kya's stepfather isn't a fan of anything that takes time away from Kya's duties at home.

No one really disapproves of Lila and Melody's relationship, except for maybe the big bad witch, Angelique. She only wants to rip them apart in order to convince Lila to give into her powers and join her on the "dark side."

7. What would be an ideal date?

They both admit it's cliché, but a day in Paris would be a dream come true for Kya and Lane. They go to a little café to eat good food, then go back to their apartment overlooking the city and paint, read, and sing. They'd go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and try to make the day last as long as possible.

Lila and Melody just want to find a little cottage in the middle of nowhere where they can hide away and not be bothered by witches or demons or other supernatural dangers. A cozy night by the fire, swapping stories of their past adventures, would be perfect.

8. What are their personality dynamics? Similar? Contrasting? Do they fight a lot or mesh perfectly?

Kya and Lane's personalities are different enough to challenge each other and never get bored, but similar enough that they can make inside jokes and bond over shared interests. They rarely ever fight, and when they do it's resolved quickly.

Lila and Melody are extremely similar, with the biggest differences being that Lila is confident and Melody has spent a good portion of her life learning to be a shadow. I suppose Lila is more of an optimist and a romantic than Melody, but they both love art and music and want to make the world a better place.

9. What have been their best and worst moments together as a couple?

Kya and Lane's best moment: Probably their first date when everything was laughs and smiles and for a few hours neither of them thought about their personal troubles. Their worst moment: Something I can't tell you (dun dun dunnnn) . . .

Lila and Melody's best moment(s): Whenever they manage to take down some kind of threat together. It gives them more hope for the future. Their worst moment(s): Any of the countless near-death experiences where they both thought they'd lose the other forever.

10. Where do they see themselves and their relationship in the next few years?

Kya hopes to be scraping together enough money to go to community college and maybe even take music lessons, with Lane by her side, of course. Lane would be close to graduating college himself and imagines buying an apartment somewhere far from where they are now to live together.

As long as they're alive and happy, that's the best Lila and Melody can hope for, and they're just fine with that.

Your turn! What are your favorite fictional couples of your own creation? I want to hear all about them. Leave a comment!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Encyclopedia of Me - S


I can't even begin to describe how great my dog is. She's turning seven this year, but she still has tons of puppy energy. She's goofy and snuggly and sweet and a total spaz. The mere mention of UPS has her flipping out and slamming into walls in her haste to protect us from the big brown truck that dares to enter our neighborhood. But thank god for our ten-pound watch dog, otherwise we'd all be murdered in our sleep by the mailman. One of my favorite things about coming home after going out for even ten minutes is being greeted by her crazy self. She gets so excited any time we walk into a room, and she climbs all over us to give us kisses before pawing at our faces to hurry up and scratch her behind the ears. I can't really remember a time before having a dog, she's totally part of the family.


AKA the greatest food in the universe. There are endless possibilities for rolls, which means every time we go to a Japanese restaurant, there's something new to try. We have a restaurant about twenty minutes away from us that makes delicious food and gets my mouth watering the whole drive there. One of my favorite holiday traditions is getting a gigantic spread of different kinds of sushi on New Year's Eve to eat. We get so stuffed, but it's so worth it.

Stana Katic

In case you couldn't tell, I've been mildly obsessed with "Castle" recently . . . okay a lot obsessed. But one of the many reasons for that is how well-written the characters are, one of which is Kate Beckett, played by Stana Katic. I can't imagine anyone else playing her, she's perfect for the role. She can be dead serious one second and crack a witty joke the next, make you cry, make you laugh, and get you so invested in the show you forget she's fiction.


This is hands down one of the best discoveries I've made on TV in the past couple years. I don't know how it wasn't on my radar before, but many thanks to my blogging friends for making me aware of it! Despite the fact that we only have ten (yay for Christmas specials!) episodes so far, these characters and the plot are so well developed. I can't believe how much genius they're able to cram into ninety minutes of fast-paced dialogue. The actors are brilliant, the writing is brilliant, the scheduling for each season . . . not so much. But we're able to (mostly) look past it because Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have so much chemistry and make us forget how long we've waited when we finally do get more episodes.


I absolutely loved getting to binge-watch the past ten seasons over holidays and fangirling with Cait. I never thought I'd watch a "horror" series, but holy crap it's so well-written and planned out. There's a reason this show has such a huge fanbase that got it to last 11 seasons (and still going strong!). This show has made me laugh and cry countless times. It's not only introduced me to a whole new fandom, but lifelong friends within that fandom. I have so many great memories attached to the story and the characters.

Sophia, Sammy, and Soph

Three close friends of mine who all make me laugh and smile whenever I spend time with them. :) Sophia and I have been friends for years, having met through our family's homeschool group. Though I've known Sammy and Soph for almost a year online, it feels like much, much longer. And I'm getting to meet Sammy in person for the first time for my sixteenth birthday! I'm so excited.

Sleeping At Last

I found this band through Tumblr last year and I've been crazy about their music ever since. They have a great Indie sound and an album called "Atlas" I've listened to over and over and over again. It offers tons of creative inspiration. My favorite songs by them are "Jupiter," "Neptune," and "Turning Page."

Sam Winchester

He's the younger of the Winchester brothers on "Supernatural," and he's one of the main driving forces of the show. Together, he and Dean have a small but incredibly strong family. And they make an amazing team with everything they do. Sam's often considered the brains of the pair, but just like how Dean isn't just the muscle, that's not all he is. He's brave and quick on his feet and always the first to offer a listening ear to friends and strangers. The character development he's gone through these past seasons is unbelievable, but you never lose the Sam you fall in love with when you first meet him.

Song, River

Ahhhhhh, I love this woman so much!!! She's hysterical and smart and adds a spice to the later seasons of "Doctor Who" that the show needed. I love her with the eleventh Doctor. And Amy and Rory. And everyone. But I won't give much more away because, well . . . spoilers.

Stars Hollow/Sookie

"Gilmore Girls" makes me happy. As soon as I hear the music, I'm transported right back to that tiny, magical town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. I love how whenever one of the characters walk down the street, they can stop and talk to seven people they know just on their way to the grocery story. I love the town meetings and Luke's coffee shop and the seasonal festivals and the people. The quirky, wonderful people that make that town home. And one of those people is Sookie St. James. She's an adorable, clumsy, bubbly person and one of the best friends you could ask for. Who wouldn't want a friend who shows up at your house with an amazing home-cooked meal and a laugh that brightens the room? (Plus, watching her in the kitchen suddenly makes me realize I'm not the worst klutz in the world.)

Summer and Sunshine

This crazy winter has me seriously missing warm weather. Though I suppose over three feet of snow in one day has anybody missing it . . . I'm ready for the beach and some sunshine and being outside with a book. Parks, bike rides, the pool, walking Scout, barbecues, I'm so, so ready for all of it.

What are some "s" things that you love? Leave a comment!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

What Makes a Great Fictional Romance?

Happy Valentine's Day! It shouldn't come as a surprise that I love my OTPs. Watching my adorable ships sail makes me happier than a baby elephant in a mud puddle.

But what exactly is it that makes a ship so . . . shippy? I have a few ideas.

(And yes, I will be using actual ships as examples to each of my points, but I won't give any spoilers as to whether they've sailed or not! So don't worry if you see a couple listed that you think is spoilery, chances are I've covered my ears and gone "lalala, you can say it won't happen all you want, I BELIEVE IN THEM.")

1. They make each other laugh

THIS IS A BIG ONE. The fictional world can be so dark and dreary sometimes (okay, a lot of the time), and these characters are little balls of broken cloudy days. (Is this true of all stories? Probably not, but I primarily read/watch things that make me cry. Fangirls are gluttons for pain!) So when the couple of one of my many OTPs can get each other to crack a smile or burst into laughter despite all the crap they're going through, it makes my little shipping heart squee.

Ships that make each other laugh (and me, too):

-The 10th Doctor and Rose from "Doctor Who"
-Chandler and Monica from "Friends"

2. They can be total dorks together

This goes along with #1. If you can find someone who gets your weirdness and wants to be weird right along with you, you've found a special someone, whether that be romantic or platonic. Adorable dorks make the world go 'round! What's more fun than pulling faces and making stupid jokes together?

Ships that are adorable dorks:

-Nick and Jess from "New Girl"
-Barry and Lainey from "The Goldbergs" (well . . . Barry more than Lainey, but still)

3. The slooowww burn

Don't get me wrong, the slow burns are sooo frustrating. All of those almost-kisses and longing looks when the other's back is turned and secretly confiding in friends and family about their true feelings for person A or B is enough to make any shipper insane. BUT. If/when those ships finally start thinking straight and get together, you know it'll be that much more satisfying. Plus, all those years they've known each other as friends means they already know most of each other's quirks/flaws/likes and dislikes!

Ships that just need to freaking kiss already:

-Sherlock and Molly from "Sherlock" (and this is ten-thousand times worse because we only get an episode like every two years!!)
-Niles and Daphne from "Frasier"

4. You know they'd do anything for each other

This can be anything from cooking a favorite dinner just because to diving into a burning building to save the other to person A watching a show person B loves despite A knowing he/she's going to hate it. No matter how small, each gesture is another shove of the ship out to sea.

Ships who would probably fight a dragon with a toothpick for love:

-Four and Tris from Divergent
-Hook and Emma from "Once Upon a Time" 

5. They excel at driving each other crazy one second and making them giggle the next

I don't know what it is about this that I find super cute, but endless teasing from one or both of the people that makes the other roll his/her eyes (even though they're totally amused on the inside) is something I love in a ship. It's the playful banter I'm always a huge fan of in dialogue. They may pretend to be annoyed, but you know they miss it whenever they're apart for too long..

Ships who love to drive each other up a wall:

-Castle and Beckett from "Castle"
-Lilac and Tarver from These Broken Stars

6. They challenge each other

My least favorite fictional couples are the ones where the characters are basically the exact same person or completely and totally different. If they're the same, they're bland and boring and overall just "meh." If you have to go into a ship with the "opposites attract" belief, you usually end up with a lot of angst and friction and a couple that isn't right for each other at all. Instead, there should be a good balance where the differences work to help each person change in a good way. (And I'm not talking about a ship where one of the characters becomes a "project" for the other person. Those are awful and never end up well. The ship should have mutual respect for who each person is right then and there, above all.)

Ships who challenge each other:
-Simon and Isabelle from The Mortal Instruments
-Steve and Peggy from "Captain America"

7. There's actual chemistry

There's nothing worse than forced romance. I've heard the good rule of thumb is to never go into a story with the mission to eventually set two people up with each other (unless you're specifically writing a romance!). The best fictional couples emerge on their own along the way because they just can't stand not being together any longer. There are definitely some ships with chemistry so strong, it's like a buzzing in the room that makes you flail with the hopes that they'll eventually realize their true love for each other.

Ships with palpable chemistry:

-The 11th Doctor and River from "Doctor Who"
-Hazel and Augustus from The Fault in Our Stars

8. They're friends, first and foremost

Some of my absolute favorite ships are the best-friends-turned-romantic-couple. That doesn't mean all of my favorite ships have to fit the criteria, it just means underneath every date and kiss they care most about looking out for each other, like any good friend would. They're honest with each other, caring, thoughtful, always there when you need them, etc. etc. etc.

Ships who are best friends:

-Luke and Lorelai from "Gilmore Girls"
-Eleanor and Park from Eleanor & Park

9. They make a great team with everything they do

Whether they're making breakfast or catching criminals or saving the earth from destruction, they do it best together. You know two people are made for each other when their best (and worst) traits mesh together to form an awesome team.

Ships who should wear matching outfits and become a superhero dream team:

-Dean and Jo from "Supernatural"
-Jack and Ianto from "Torchwood"

10. They love each other for who they are, no matter what

The most important thing you need! There's not much more I can say about it other than I think once a ship has this, everything else I've listed above will follow.

Ships who love each other unconditionally:

-How can I even pick between them all?!?! Basically everyone I wrote down earlier. Plus more. Every single one.

What do you look for in a fictional romance? What are your favorite OTPs? Leave a comment!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

January Wrap-Up

Books I Read

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro


It's a fun read, especially great for a gray day when you're stuck inside with a blanket and a book. But definitely read it for the plot and not so much the characters, since the only one I really liked was Charlotte. You can read my review HERE.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


LOVE LOVE LOVE. This book was absolutely brilliant. It's one of the best graphic novels I've read in a while. If you're a fan of "Megamind," Dungeons & Dragons, and quick reads that will make you giggle, pick this one up.

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver


I'd read the Delirium series a while ago, so I was excited to see how it compared. I thought her writing was fabulous in this one. The friendship between the main characters was sweet, and the whole plot reminded me a little of Cinderella, except with a more paranormal magical theme. You can read my review HERE.

Winter by Marissa Meyer 


Holy banana nut muffins, HOW CAN I EVEN. Marissa Meyer couldn't have possibly made this conclusion to her absolutely fantastic series any better. The action was nearly nonstop, all of the ships were totally adorable (especially Thress--if it were possible to hug a ship, I'd hug them), and the ending was perfect. I DEMAND A TV SERIES ADAPTATION.

Movies I Watched

"Kiki's Delivery Service"


Cute, fun, and whimsical. Out of all the anime movies I've seen, this is one of the better ones.



Great ending to the TV series! Although there were more than a few times where I was totally taken by surprise with the plot twists. I wish the show lasted longer than it did, I would've been more than happy to binge-watch the Firefly gang.



Oh so cheesy, but it's a fun movie. The whole team reminded me of a slightly more professional version of the "Ghostfacers" from "Supernatural." I'm glad I saw it with the new female version coming out!

"Monty Python and the Holy Grail"


I loved it! I knew a lot of the references already thanks to the internet, but it's fun to have context now. Dry British humor is a favorite of mine, and this movie had plenty of it, along with plenty of ridiculousness.

"Sense & Sensibility"


After a while, all of the Jane Austen stories start to sound the same to me, but I always enjoy them. The cast was great, and the story still had a few surprising twists and turns. It was a little strange to see Alan Rickman in such a different role, but he was fantastic as always.

"Moulin Rouge"


Oh. My. Gosh. This movie is nuts. It took me a good twenty minutes to figure out what the heck was going on, but I loved all of it. The music is really what made it, and the story, the production, everything was bombastic. I highly recommend it.



Another great Bond film! I won't give anything away, but there was one part in particular I totally didn't see coming at all. I haven't seen any other actors as James Bond, but Daniel Craig is definitely exactly how I imagined the character would be. The villain this time was super fun to watch just because of how insane he was.

Quotes I Wrote

Mr. Hudson had somehow managed to produce bandages out of thin air, because he wrapped my hands now, the stinging dulled by the effects of the injection coursing through my blood now. He wouldn't look at me. I think because it hurt too much. “Ms. Holmes, you try to block out your past with these things. But it doesn't work. It's a temporary solution to a more permanent problem. You have to face this kind of pain head on. It's what will keep you alive, keep you human.”
“I don't want it,” I whined, and curled up in a tighter ball on the floor. I knew I sounded exactly like a child, but I didn't have the energy to care. “Why do people bother with it?”
Mr. Hudson sighed heavily and put his hand on my shoulder, squeezing gently. “Because the love that came before makes it worth it.”
“Memories,” I whispered, eyes burning, but years of repressing them seemed to make it impossible to let them fall. “That's all I've got.”
“You can't bring her back.”
“Then what can I do?” I snapped.
“What you always do.” Mr. Hudson leaned to the side to pick up the sketchbook I'd flung across the room in my rage. Several of the pages were barely hanging on, mostly torn from the binding. He set it by my side, but I didn't take it. “Use that brain of yours and get to work.”
--Ms. Holmes

“Ms. Holmes?” Came Mr. Hudson's voice. He knocked on the door, though he didn't wait for my answer before he opened it. He came bearing tea. Of course he did. We were English, after all. How else would one deal with a difficult situation?
--Ms. Holmes

“What in the hell are you doing?” I gasped when I walked into the living room and saw the disaster before me.
The entire area was clean. Spotless. Every paper out of place, stacked into neat piles, coats hung up on the rack. It looked like he'd recruited a bloody armada of cleaning ladies.
“What does it look like?” Mr. Hudson said impatiently, adjusting the items on the fireplace so he could do another sweep with the duster. A cloud of gray flecks flew up, catching the light coming in from the window. “I'm dusting.”
“No, you're cleaning.” I spat out the word like a filthy swear, rushing over to look at the piles. “And—dear god. You've organized?!”
Mr. Hudson nodded, lips twitching ever so slightly in amusement. “The papers are alphabetically, sketchbooks by date.”
“How dare you.”
--Ms. Holmes

So Faye Moriarty had struck again.
How stupid I’d been not to consider her as a possibility right away. Not even iron doors could hold her forever, that much I knew. Because she was clever. Mad. An insane, dangerous, genius criminal.
And with just a few twists of fate, she could’ve been me.
I could’ve been her.
--Ms. Holmes 

Clicking a bullet into place, I held the gun with steady hands and aimed for her heart. “I’ll ask you one more time, where is he?”
Faye’s lips twitched, as if a laugh were bubbling up and it took every bit of her energy and concentration not to let it out. “Oh, my dear detective. You won’t shoot me.”
I raised my eyebrows. “What makes you so sure of that?”
She took a step closer, and another, until the barrel of the gun pressed right up against her chest. I inhaled sharply, held my breath.
“Because you’re me,” she whispered. She lifted one of her long, slender fingers, pressed the tip of her fingernail against my chin to tilt it up. I shuddered. “And though it’s going to fail, I know you have plans for me. Big plans, bombastic plans. Just as I have plans for you.”
--Ms. Holmes

God, this is impossible!” I raged three days after my return, throwing the pages into the air.
“You’re overthinking it,” Dawn said without even looking up from her cup of tea and the newspaper. She was the picturesque of calm whilst I clawed at the walls and tore down every paper I’d pinned up.
Dawn merely glanced sideways, continuing to stroke the cat that had curled up at her side. “Watch the pins, Astrid. Sir Mittens could choke.”
I muttered something about how it might be a good thing. Dawn threw a pencil at me.
--Ms. Holmes

“It just doesn’t make sense. What’s the most obvious place? Where would he hide? Where would Faye hide him? Are you going to help me with this or do I need to think of it all on my own?”
Dawn set the newspaper by her side and held up her hands in surrender. “Usually when I try to help you end up shushing me. I didn’t think you needed me for this.”
I blinked at her. “Of course I need you, you’re my partner. Even if you’re not a genius like I am, you help me think things through. Usually anything you think of is too dull and obvious to be true, but it looks like in this case that’s exactly what I need. I’m too well trained to be obvious, my mind goes right past those things to what’s important.”
“I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted.”
“Maybe a bit of a both.”
“Good plan.”
--Ms. Holmes

“Why didn't you tell anyone?”
“No one listened.”
He folds his hands in his lap, unimpressed by my answer. It's the truth, though. But he knows that already. The light attached to the metal crown I wear is still green.
It was just a job; three years of watching her through that screen.
“And you killed her?”
I press my fingernails into my legs. “Yes.”
“I didn't have a choice.”
“You always have a choice.”
I pull against my restraints, cold metal digging into my chest, until I can rest my elbows on the table in order to lean closer to him. I am calm, even though inside I am fire.
“How much time do you have?”
He sets his NetScreen on the table and stares at me without blinking. “All the time in the world.”
“Then let me tell you a story.”
--So far untitled sci-fi story . . .

Obsessions I Acquired

Nothing this month, unless you count my continued obsession with "Castle." It just keeps getting better!! The meta humor and "Firefly" references and edge-of-your-seat mysteries keep you glued to the screen. My mom has even started watching bits here and there when she's in the same room as me just because it's so easy to get sucked into.

Oh wait, I lied! This song has been on repeat ever since I watched the "Castle" episode it was featured on. It's especially cool because one of the actors is actually singing in it.

Picture of the Month

A few of my writer friends I met at camp last year and I went to an Escape Room and it was awesome. And yes, that is me in a deerstalker.

How was your January?