January Snow Giveaway!

JanuarySnowFINALn

It’s time for a Giveaway! This book has been a long time coming, and I’m happy to finally share it with you! And now you even have an opportunity to get a copy for free!

Prizes

#1 A signed paperback copy of January Snow (US only)

#2 An ebook (pdf, mobi, or epub file) of January Snow (open internationally)

Enter using the Rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

And remember, you can also buy January Snow in paperback or ebook on Amazon.

Fairy Tale Blog Tag

And the February celebration of fairy tales continues, this time with a blog tag.

– What’s an obscure fairy tale you love? Though I’ve seen this one become a little more well-known lately, I think “King Thrushbeard” still counts as obscure. My sister and I discovered it together, and it was one of those stories we’d never heard people talk about before but really enjoyed.

– If you got to choose Disney’s next animated princess movie, what fairy tale would you choose to be adapted? Oh, “The Wild Swans!” It’s been one of my favorites since I was a kid, and I’d love to see an adaptation for it. The same with “The Princess and the Pea.” I think the latter would make an especially good Disney film because there’s a lot of room for them to put their own spin on it, as they did in Tangled or The Princess and the Frog.

Image result for the wild swans"

– What is the first fairy tale you remember hearing when you were a child? As far as I can remember, I think the earliest fairy tale for me was “Cinderella.” That makes sense, since it’s my mother’s favorite and one she would want to share with me!

Image result for cinderella gif"

– If you were to embark on a fairy tale quest, what necessities would you pack in your bag? Rope, cheese, bread, and an enchanted cloak. Also a book….of fairy tales. For guidance on the quest, you know?

– What’s your favorite fairy tale trope? I’m not going to lie: it’s the prince saving the princess. I know modern culture loves to hate on it, but I love it, okay? Ever since Prince Philip fought a dragon for Aurora I was like, “Ah, YES. My future husband should be willing to fight a dragon for me.” Not a tall order to fill, huh?

Image result for sleeping beauty gif"

– If you could be any fairy tale character archetype (the princess, the soldier, fairy godmother, talking animal, mischievous imp, wise old woman, evil stepmother/sister, etc.), who would you want to be and why? I’ve always wanted to be the fairy godmother and make people’s dreams come true while also giving out excellent advice and help when needed. As I lack a magic wand and fairy wings, perhaps the most I can hope to be in reality is a wise old woman.

– What animal/mythical creature would be your sidekick for fairy tale adventures? I would love a tiny baby dragon and I’d give it all my pennies to hoard and it would be adorable.

Image result for dragon gif"

– What is your favorite historical era, and what fairy tale would you love to see in that setting? Okay, so once upon a time Disney was planning to make an animated “Jack and the Beanstalk” film set in Exploration-Era Spain and I am DEVASTATED that never happened.

There are several time periods I’m planning to utilize in my own retellings in the future (such as Viking-era Scandinavia and Regency England) but I’d love to see more fairy tale retellings set in ancient settings, such as Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, or in various Native American cultures.

– If you could change a fairy tale’s villain into a hero, who would you choose and why? I’ve got to go with Rumpelstiltskin on this one. Once Upon a Time messed around with this idea a bit, and as the love interest of the original story is less than likable, I kind of enjoy twists that turn Rumpelstiltskin into a more heroic (or at least complex) character.

Image result for rumpelstiltskin gif"

– Do you prefer fairy tales with happy endings or sad/tragic endings? why or why not? Happy Endings all the way. I see enough sadness in real life; I want to see characters get a happy ending, especially when it’s one they’ve worked so hard to earn.

You can find the blog tag questions on The Fairy Tale Central.

 

The Jar of Good Things

20191231_115946

Have you ever kept a jar like this? I did it back in 2017, but skipped last year. However, in 2019 I committed myself to keeping track of good things that happened and putting them in the jar to read at the end of the year…and today’s the day!

I love doing this, because sometimes its so easy to focus on the bad things. The last half of 2019 hasn’t been easy for me (job uncertainty, mainly) so I was looking forward to reminding myself of all of the good this year brought. And as I went through these, I saw so many events that I had completely forgotten about. Some of the BEST times in my life happened in 2019…and that’s something to focus on and remember, right?

Here are just some of the best things that happened to me in 2019:

20191231_120529.jpg

 

Went out to dinner with my parents on Valentine’s Day (I don’t remember this…did I crash their date???)

last final EVER!!

Performed in “Shakespeare in Suburbia”

Saw Avengers: Endgame

GRADUATION DAY

Trip to Disney World!!!!

Went downtown with the parents for waffles and a museum trip on my birthday

Started writing for Fairy Tale Central

Started my first DnD campaign with my brothers

Had my first author table at Otrantocon

last day of my eyedrops (from my eye issues during the summer)

Baby Yoda

Saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

There’s plenty more, although I admit I didn’t keep up with it as much as I could have these past few months. But this year also brought coffee dates with friends, a few weddings, and lots of trips to the movie theater! I don’t want to throw all these slips of paper away, so I may put them in a bag and save them for another time, since I didn’t keep a journal, like, at ALL this year (I’ve kept one, on and off, since I was about seven but I’ve really neglected it these past few years).

My favorite thing that happened in 2019? The Disney World trip, hands-down…although my second favorite event wasn’t actually my college graduation (as one might expect), but the day I finished my last ever final, lol!

What were some of the best things that happened to you this year?

January’s Playlist

I’ve been working hard to prepare JS for its release next month, but until then, here’s the Spotify playlist that’s been driving the revision and editing process. Some fit the story lyrically (“The Archer” and “Antidote for Apathy”) while others are vintage tunes (“Ain’t Misbehavin'”) and well…there’s a lot of Postmodern Jukebox. I even found a great piano version of “Someday my Prince Will Come,” because mobsters and flappers aside, it is “Snow White,” after all.

Know The Novel: It is Written

I did it, guys! I won my first NaNo! While this year’s writing didn’t always go quite the way I expected, I learned so much about my story, even if I doubt a whole lot of what I wrote will actually end up in the finished novel. But still, every word written was worth it because if I hadn’t done this, I have a feeling this story would NEVER have gotten written.

And now, on to Christine’s questions!

1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

It was rocky at first, got a little better, went downhill, and then picked up spectacularly the very last week.

2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

Oh, that’s a hard question! A little of both. However, actually writing through the story really made me see what is going to work plotwise, and what won’t. In a way, this draft became an epic brainstorming session on how to fix some very big plot holes and issues that I was struggling with in my outline. (I solved so many of them this month! The last week went so well because it seemed like I was FINALLY fixing all of the issues and uncertainties that have been plaguing this story from the beginning.)

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

All of Sebastian and Helena’s scenes were outrageously fun to write. Throwing them into situations where they have to work together despite all of their issues was immensely satisfying to me. Also, this novel gave me the opportunity to really pile on some Angst™ in certain scenes, and I’m a little concerned about how much I enjoyed that.

4. How about your least favorite part?

Oh boy. The hard part about writing characters who know the future is that I, in fact, do NOT know the future. Trying to brainstorm future gadgets, events, tragedies, politics, etc. is Not Fun for me. Also, writing accurately about current technology and realistic ways to say, break in to a house and steal something out of a safe, is frustrating because I want it to be plausible and people really will know if I have no idea what I’m talking about.

Also, I wrote this story in dual first-person perspectives, which MAY have been a mistake. While I love writing in my characters’ heads like that, I’m honestly not sure if it’s best for the story (and making their voices distinct is hard) so I don’t know if that’s going to be the final perspective that makes it into the novel.

5. What do you feel like needs the most work?

See above.

6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

They are all dorks and I love them. So far, my antagonist has still been the most problematic, because even though I  have his motivation down, he doesn’t have much personality, at least not in this draft. He just sort of says and does the things the plot needs him to do without any personal flair.

The most surprising has probably been Sebastian? Poor guy just really wants to think the best of everyone, and sometimes that really bites him.

The last week I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go (I’d written the last third, but the middle was still a mess) so I began writing flashback scenes and it revealed so much about the characters. Even if these flashbacks don’t make it into the final book, writing them was without a doubt the most productive thing that happened this NaNo.

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

I’m letting it rest until after I publish January Snow, but I would LOVE to work towards its publication within the next year or two (the book tentatively takes place in late 2020/early 2021, so that’s kind of the year I’m shooting for). However, it really does need almost an entirely new 1st draft, so I have a lot of work to do.

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

If anyone wants to turn this into a Netflix series, I would not complain….

9. Share some of your favorite snippets!

“Besides, how do you know their ultimate collapse isn’t part of my plan?”
My father’s guffaw was louder than I’d heard it recently; I’d have been gratified if he hadn’t been laughing at me.
“Sebastian,” he said, his laugh subsiding into a rumbling cough before halting, “you’re honorable down to your bones. You’d die for Helena Moran before you’d betray her.”
I was offended “That is the most ridiculous exaggeration I’ve ever heard,” I said, flicking a crumb off of my sleeve. “I wouldn’t change a tire for Helena Moran, much less take a bullet for her.”

Moran started to walk towards it, but I flung my arm out and stopped her.
“There could be traps,” I said.
She shined her flashlight in my face in annoyance. “This isn’t the mummy’s tomb, Finch.”
Maintaining eye contact, I threw my glove across the room and it landed on the floor, shredded.
“Look at that,” I said. “Lasers.”

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

It’s always really encouraging to me to know that I can write this much this quickly. Sometimes I get bogged down in the “I must have INSPIRATION to wriiiite” mindset that pretty much just stops me from writing anything at all. Sometimes you just have to make yourself put down words before the inspiration gets there.

So there we go: another NaNo, closed. Once I reached that 50,000 mark, I told myself I’d give myself a week off of writing so I wouldn’t burn out. How long did that last before I started writing again?

(1) day

Know the Novel: Timeworn

NANO IS IN TWO DAYS

Of course, that’s a really bad time to be struck with a story idea that is NOT your NaNo novel, but of course that’s what happened to me :/ (Luckily it’s a short story, so I’ve been working on that this week in an effort to finish a first draft before November begins.)

But, in preparing for NaNo, I’m participating in Christine’s Know the Novel link-up!

I’ve done NaNo before, but I’d say I really only fully participated once, and I got to a little over 40,000 words before Thanksgiving happened and the rest of the month completely got away from me. I normally don’t post much about my stories this early in the game, but I’m hoping doing so will give me the accountability I need to stick with it.

I know I said I wasn’t going to post about this story yet, but I have decided to push it up on my priorities list and make it my NaNo novel. Yes…it’s the time travel one.

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel? 

When it comes to plotting stories, my ideas generally resemble bumper cars speeding around the track of my mind. And sometimes, those bumper-car ideas slam into each other and wham! a new idea is formed. This is what happened in Timeworn, which is the result of a three car collision involving:

-a story idea about secret societies

-a story about stranded time travelers

-a story idea about two people who have been trained since childhood to thwart the other…only for them to have to work together and in the process realize that they work insanely well together. If that wasn’t enough, they realize that they might actually like each other, too??? #disgusting

2. Share a blurb!

I don’t want to share too much yet, but it involves two feuding secret societies, the betrayal that forces them to work together, and a big “enemies-to-friends (and maybe more???)” relationship arc. Tonally and aesthetically, it’s taking a lot of inspiration from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (the movie), Inception, black-and-white romantic comedies, and…Carmen Sandiego. (I also recently realized there’s definitely some Person of Interest influence too)

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

It’s the first novel I’ve EVER written that takes place in the present day (which is ironic because the whole premise involves…well…time travel). It’s also going to involve a bit of globe-trotting, which will be fun. The thing is, one of the main reasons I find that I myself don’t normally enjoy contemporary novels is because the style of writing isn’t my favorite, and I don’t usually find the characters as likable/relatable as in historical fiction or fantasy. Ergo, trying to mesh a more historical/classics style of writing and characterizations with a modern setting without going overboard might be an interesting balance. However, I think it fits well with Timeworn‘s premise, since it has so much to do with the intersection of futuristic technology with historical events.

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

6d0be1a102d65d98d47f2c7471f82214

Helena

A down-to-earth, take-no-nonsense, solid type, with a good sense of humor that saves her from being too overbearing or dull. Surprisingly terrible at thinking well under pressure and is constantly forgetting to put things back in the refrigerator.

52ba6fcd5faf20a5a3291e9aff6958e9

Sebastian

Would be much too suave and smooth for trustworthiness, except for his unwavering optimism in believing the best of his comrades. Is especially talented at charming grumpy old ladies. Is probably wearing hot topic Superman socks with his fancy three-piece suit.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

A defected member of one of the societies, who’s now putting both sides–and maybe the entire world–at risk.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

There’s so much in here I haven’t written before: main characters older than my normal age bracket (30s instead of 20s), present day setting, and lots of opportunities for spy stuff and secret agent shenanigans. It’s making me really nervous, but also excited.

Can we safely use time travel to explore our cultural folk tales? The past is a foreign place - inseparable from fact and fiction - it is all memory? Does time exist? Can we talk about time and myth or do we insult?

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

It wasn’t originally planned to be a series, but I do think I may leave it open for other books in the future. I’m still figuring that out, because if I do that, I may have to change some plot elements and the point where the character arc in this story ends.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Plotting, plotting, plotting. And yet….there are still so many sections of my outline that consist of question marks. We’re just going to see where the first half of the outline takes me, I guess. The middle is pretty much just one big ???? right now.

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

It’s a story more about the consequences of time travel rather than time travel itself. The two societies are made up of the descendants of time travelers who got stranded in the 1800s, but who left their futuristic knowledge to be used by their successors. Just how that knowledge is to be used is what precipitated the break in the original travelers, and plays a huge part of the current conflict between the two groups.

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!).

Here’s a peek at my secret Pinterest board:

TW.png

And now I guess I have just enough time to take a deep breath before preparing to dive in on Friday!

(and of course I’ve also got to finish that short story in two days so that deep breath is really all I’ve got time for!)

A World Where There Are Octobers

I have always passionately loved Octobers. Fall is my favorite season, and October is the month where here in South Carolina the heat starts to FINALLY drop (our highs are supposed to be in the 70s and 80s this week, yay). It’s also when I love to light some candles and hunker down with some good mysteries and spooky (but not scary) stories.

IMG_20191004_091520_910
my October TBR list

I’m tidying up January Snow right now, and next month I’m hoping to give you all a cover reveal!  I’ll be making an official announcement a bit closer to reveal time if you’d like to participate, but for now rest assured I’m working on it 😀

Her stockings were soaked to the knees.
Strangely enough, after all she had been through, that was the uppermost thought in her mind. Not the running, not Chase’s desperate actions as he pushed her out of the crossfire. It wasn’t even the repercussions of her actions that plagued her.
It was those darned stockings, wet and clinging to her legs. 

I’m also prepping for NaNoWriMo! I was wavering between working on my “Little Mermaid” retelling or my time travel story; the time travel story won out in the end. (the TLM story is going to be a novella, and it’s already halfway written, so it probably wasn’t the most fitting choice). It’s been years since I’ve attempted NaNo, so I’m hoping I can pull myself together and write 50,000 words in a month!

Image result for i'm working hard gif

Also, later this month I’m planning on sharing some excerpts from January Snow (as well as the book’s Spotify playlist) so stay tuned 😀

What’s on your October Reads list?

the end of july, 2019

So July turned out to be an incredibility busy month punctuated by a specific period of absolute inactivity.

To elaborate:

That month I started a wonderful freelance job that I’ve been driving to once a week. I’ve been interviewing and listening to the grandparents of some friends in order to write their biography, and though we’ve only had a handful of sessions, it’s been incredibly rewarding. Of course, it helps that they are genuinely wonderful people with great stories, and I love getting to spend time with them!

me settling in every week to hear stories of their childhood shenanigans

As I already mentioned, I started writing for Fairy Tale Central. Since I’ve been doing origins posts, it means that I get to research a new fairy tale every month, and I looove doing that. Research for fun is something I don’t want to give up now that I’m now longer in school.

Speaking of fairy tales, I’ve been troubleshooting a lot of scenes in January Snow. There are a handful of “necessary” scenes that are just plain uninteresting + boring, so I’ve been analyzing why that is and then rewriting them. I’ve also been working on upping the suspense in it, so we shall see how that turns out.

D_7U9uCXkAAWJOo

Additionally, I went to my first con a little over a week ago. One of my local libraries had its own convention with local artists & vendors, and it had a good turnout, even though it’s only the second year that they’ve done it. I got to sell and sign some books, and I look forward to doing it again next year. I’ve never had an author table/booksigning before, and it was really a great experience!

HOWEVER (dun dun DUN)

The week of the con, I’d been having really bad headaches concentrated behind my right eye. When I looked up my symptoms, it seemed that I had a pretty classic case of cluster headaches. Except then the severity of the headaches went away…and the pain in my eye did not. After five days of redness, sensitivity to light, and soreness around my eyebrow and eye that felt a lot worse than it looked, I went to the eye doctor and found out that I had, not a headache problem, but anterior uveitis (inflammation of the iris & middle of the eye). I spent the first week basically spending my days with sunglasses on in a dark corner of the room, avoiding monitors and trying not to use my eyes. Thankfully, my eyes feel much better and the light doesn’t hurt anymore, but treatment lasts awhile. Currently, I’m still on eye drops two times a day. (I started out with eye drops six times that first day, then four the first week, three the second, and so on, so going down to two is kind of a relief)

ANYWAY…July wasn’t bad, but I am ready for the fresh start of a new month. That being said, I’m already itching for August and September to be over so we can get to MY FAVE TRIO.

(October, November, and December are the best months and no, this will not be up for debate at this time)

Image result for excited for fall gif

i am obsessed with fairy tales. obviously.

…I say obviously because I have some exciting news for you guys: I’ve joined the Fairy Tale Central team! Starting this month, I’ll be doing some guest posting. If you’ve hung around this blog (or any of my previous blogs) for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve probably noticed how dear to my heart fairy tales and their history are to me.

Speaking of history…my first post tackles the origins of this month’s featured fairy tale, “Snow White and Rose Red!” This story stands out from the other Grimm’s fairy tales for a very specific reason, so it was a lot of fun to delve into its history a little more.

rosered_rackham1

This story is one I find that people are either very familiar with, or haven’t heard of at all. Though it’s a “newer” tale, it incorporates a lot of classic and traditional fairy tale motifs and elements. But of course, I won’t go too much into that here 🙂 You can find my post up now on the Fairy Tale Central blog.