Summer Plans!

Summer is almost here and can I just say how excited I am? Going through the past month and a half has reaffirmed my hatred of spring. It’s a pretty season with all the new growth but the allergies are too much! I was walking around feeling like I had a cold for weeks with no relief. I still have a bad cough but for the most part everything else has gone away. The only downfall that comes with summer is the heat. Even today it was hot and kinda uncomfortable. Why can’t every season be fall? That would be perfect.

But anyway, here are some of my goals for the summer. ūüôā

  1. My family and I usually go to the beach¬†two to three times a summer but I’d love to extend that! Walking around and shopping in the quaint little town is one of my favorite things to do.
  2. Spend more time with my best friend Alexa. I’m an extrovert with introverted tendencies, so socialization is important to¬†me but¬†can be hard¬†at times. It’s the most frustrating thing ever.¬†But I’ve known Alexa since¬†we were little and she’s such a kind hearted and special person. We understand each other¬†and I want to strengthen our friendship. She’s so amazing and I love spending time with her. ūüôā
  3. If I could even finish one book this summer that would be incredible. I’ve been having serious writing doubts and lack of motivation recently so my projects have all come to a halt. :/
  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter. I’ve always known I love animals but recently I’ve been discovering just how much. I’d like to work with them and my local shelter is looking for volunteers. Hopefully I’ll have the courage to do that sometime this summer.
  5. Take tumblry artistic photos with friends. I love photography and figuring out different ways to take pictures. I can’t wait to do some poses with my friends that look like they came straight off of Tumblr or Pinterest.
  6. Get a henna tattoo. I’m not sure if I want to do a picture or words but I think it’d be really cool to get one. Especially if I could convince one of my friends to do it as well so we could match.
  7. Write more on my blog. ūüôā
  8. Attend as many book signings as possible.
  9. Read at least five books. I’m an incredibly slow reader and I get distracted easily so I think I’ll be lucky to get five but we’ll see.
  10. Redecorate my room.

So there’s the beginning of my summer bucket list! What are some of the things on your summer bucket list? I’d love to hear about your plans.

Keep creating!

 

Writing Updates!

Hello everyone! When I last talked to you I told you that my first beta reader was reading my book. Since then, she has finished it and left hundreds of comments on it.¬†I’ve gone through all her critiques and fixed things that I agreed with¬†and things that I disagreed with but decided were probably a good change anyway. It was a difficult process but one that I feel has improved my book by leaps and bounds. After finishing with her suggestions, I went through and edited the entire thing again. It has now been sent back to her for a second read through and¬†set the project aside for awhile in an attempt to distance myself from it.¬†Hopefully¬†that’ll make it easier to be¬†more objective¬†in my seventh draft.

Since putting it aside, I’ve been working on the second draft of my 2015 NaNoWriMo novel¬†and writing the first draft of a cool new book that came into my mind sometime¬†last month while re-watching Firefly. I decided that I¬†wanted to create something that was like¬†Firefly but with less sexual elements in it. The show would be 1,000,000x better without them in my opinion. And thus my #SpacePiratesStory (as I’ve been calling it on Twitter) was born! It has spaceships, bounty hunters, strange planets, and¬†a bunch of amazingly cool explorers. Eeeeee! This project is so exciting! ūüėÄ

On top of all that, I will also be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this April! I’m really stressed out that it’s only two days away but¬†I have an amazing cabin of nineteen members in total (including myself) so I’m sure I’ll be fine. I have so many incredible people supporting me this year. ūüôā

Well, I think that’s all that’s been going on in my writing life of late. Are any of you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this April? Let me know in the comments section if you are! I’d love to talk about it. ūüôā

Keep creating!

It’s Okay To Be Scared

I have some exciting news!¬†I gave my book to someone for feedback. Before her,¬†only my family and three of my closest friends had ever seen it. I have been working on¬†the series¬†for two years and have written three drafts of the first book. It had gotten to the point where I wasn’t sure how much more I could do without an outside opinion. So it basically came down to two options for me and the book: Let someone critique it or drop the project. And after two years I had become far too attached to the series to just give it¬†up. So I decided to let someone read it. And I think the decision is going to better my book by leaps and bounds. It’s only been three days, and the amount of critique I’ve gotten already¬†is way more than anyone has ever given me previously and it’s opened my eyes to a lot of mistakes that I hadn’t noticed before.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is to not let your fears get in the way of progress. Even if it’s just a couple baby steps at a time, keep moving forward. There was a point in time where I couldn’t even share a vague sentence from my book without panicking. But very slowly, I’ve been able¬†to overcome my fears. I know I still have a long way to go, and that¬†it’s taken me three years to get to this point but I did get here.¬†And so¬†can you. Just take it one step at a time. And remember, it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to stumble.¬†Just don’t let fear stop you from doing¬†what you love most. Take a deep breath, get back up, and keep pushing through. ūüôā

Because Feelings Matter Book Tag

I’ve been thinking about which topic I could talk about to ease myself back into this blogging thing and decided that a tag would be best. They’re so much¬†fun! Hopefully you guys enjoy and can relate to some of my answers. ūüôā

  1. What book made you feel confident, either about yourself or your life

Definitely Divergent by Veronica Roth. This book guys… I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say enough about it. It’s high time for a re-read because I haven’t read it in soooo long. But anyway! This book came to me at a difficult time in my life. It taught me how to be brave and how to fight, but also showed me that a person can be vulnerable and weak at the same time as being strong. It showed me that strength, bravery, and vulnerability go hand in hand. Out of all the books I’ve ever read (besides the Bible of course) Divergent has probably left the biggest impact on my life. It’s been an inspiration to me ever since I read it.

2. What book made you feel sympathetic or sympathize greatly with the characters

I would probably have to choose¬†We Were Liars by e. Lockhart. I related to and felt for¬†the main character Cadie. She was going through some difficult stuff and her feelings for Gat were incredibly relatable at the time. The summer I read that book was also the one where I developed one of¬†my first real life¬†crushes. Before that I had had crushes on celebrities and fictional characters but I hadn’t really had a real crush on someone I knew in real life. So I related a lot with Cadie’s feelings for Gat.

3. What book made you feel anxious

Probably Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi. Don’t get me wrong,¬†the writing was brilliant and the characters were amazing¬†but there were just a few content issues that made me feel uncomfortable and anxious while reading. I ended up putting it down before finishing because I couldn’t take the anxiety and discomfort it brought anymore.

4. What book made you feel annoyed

Does this mean annoyed with the book or annoyed with the characters in the book? Because The Fever Code had some really annoying villains that I wanted to punch in the face but I LOVE that book as a whole. And¬†the¬†villains weren’t annoying in¬†a bad way, just in a¬†‘How could you do that?! You’re a terrible person and I hate you.’ kind of way. I can’t think of any books as a whole¬†that annoyed me so I might have to take a raincheck on this question.

5. What was a book that made you feel disappointed

Okay, before I say this title please know that I absolutely LOVE this series and really liked this book. It was just the ending that was disappointing when I read it. And this book is The Death Cure by James Dashner. Without giving too much away, it introduced us to something new at the very end and then stopped. I mean, it was an okay ending but I wanted more. If a book is going to introduce a completely new element at the last minute they should explain more. It left me feeling kinda confused and in need of an explanation. But I guess that does capture the nature of the book. Everyone is always confused.

6. What book made you feel confused

Hahaha! I was just talking about confusion in the previous question! Yup, The Maze Runner. Because everyone’s always confused about everything in that book.

 

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7. What book made you feel satisfied

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. That book is the cutest, lightest, most adorable piece of happiness that was ever published in the contemporary YA genre. It made me feel good the whole way through. It’s one of those books that makes you smile and sigh in contentment as you read the last line and close¬†it gently. Maybe you’ll also do a little happy dance and give a squeal of excitement and pleasure as you do so.

8. What book made you feel like you could really relate to the main character

I said this earlier but I really related with Cadie from We Were Liars and I also related with Tris from Divergent. Tris has always been a kind of role model to me and I related with her and the things she was going through. I always felt¬†a connection to her and Cadie’s character.

And now comes the time where I tag people! I tag:

Ana from Inkspot

Zac from Of Bleeding Pens & Pages

Angie from The Randomness of a Teenage Writer

EC from E.C. Reads

Jeneca from Jeneca Writes

Jameson from Lovely Whatsoevers

Libbey from The Comet, The Cosmos, and How to Survive It All

Nichole from The Jumping Bean

K.T. from K.T. Ivanrest

Olivia from Inkspots

Gabriela from A Heart Redeemed

Phew! I just realized how many of my friends have blogs! Of course, you guys don’t have to do this tag if it’s not something you’re interested in. I just thought I’d tag you in case you wanted to try it out as well! I’d love to see your posts! ūüėÄ

Hopefully I’ll be talking to you all again soon. Feel free to comment and let me know what your answers would be! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Keep creating!

Hello, It’s Me.

I know, it’s been awhile… again. I’m sorry! I’m horrible at this whole blogging thing. It’s not that I don’t think about posting, it’s just that I never know what to post about. I’m also scared of not having everything perfect if you know what I mean. Like, what if I have a¬†lot of typos or boring content and everyone ends up hating my blog because of it? O.o

I’ve been wanting to have an honest talk with you all¬†for awhile to tell you why I don’t post very often. Well, there you have it. I guess I’m just not very confident and my posting consistency suffers because of it. I’m hoping to get better though.

What would you guys think of smaller posts? Because sometimes I have smaller thoughts to share but not enough to write a full length post on. Let me know if you’d be okay with that!

Plus, I’m going to be changing the name of my blog. Are you ready to hear the new title? *looks cautiously from side to side* *leans in really close to whisper*

My new blog title will be…¬†Through The Reading Glass! For those of you who follow me on Instagram, this won’t be a surprise (and for those of you who don’t know already, I have an Instagram dedicated to books! Feel free to check it out! @Through_The_Reading_Glass).

I’m hoping that with the name change and the shift in content, I’ll be able to get this blog up and running more smoothly and consistently than it has before. Thank you all for being so patient with me. I’m trying. ūüôā

How did I used to close these things out? Something like, talk again soon and until next time, remember to keep reading and keep writing!

….

I don’t know about that anymore… I think I may start something new.

Keep creating!

I kind of like the sound of that one. ūüôā

My Writing Journey- What I’m Working On/Thoughts Going Forward

Since I really do want to have writing as my job in the future, I figured I’d start a¬†section dedicated to my journey and where I am. Hope you enjoy following me on my writing journey!

Two years ago, I started a trilogy of young adult, dystopian sci-fi books for NaNoWriMo 2014. Since then, I have been working on the trilogy and last year, on November 1st, I finished it. After giving it some time to rest while I worked on other projects, I am now returning to it for revisions.

The first book in the series is 159 pages long, and contains 79,874 words.¬†It’s probably a¬†bit on the short side but I’m trying not to worry about that right now. I can always make it longer if I need to.

After about a month of lazy editing, (the¬†intense work begins at Camp NaNoWriMo next month, so I’m giving myself some leeway this month), I have hit page 30 out of 159 on my manuscript. I have deleted one character completely, removed another from the beginning, deleted multiple scenes and added a few as well. 30 pages¬†has turned into 26, and I’m much happier with the story and the way it’s written. I feel like, slowly, it’s becoming the book¬†I had intended it to be.

Editing is by far, not my favorite part of the writing process. I personally love writing the first draft. I love it’s creative freedom and the leniency¬†it gives me¬†to write something terrible and know it’s okay because everyone’s first drafts are terrible. But when I get to editing, I often feel boxed up and stifled. There is no leniency anymore, no more freedom. Suddenly, everything has to be good. Everything has to be perfect. You can no longer just throw a bunch of words on the page and call it okay, you have to meticulously organize them. And that’s what I hate about editing. BUT…

I did come up with a new way of editing that is making it a little more bearable. I created a completely new, empty document, and split my computer screen between that and the doc with my manuscript. Now, looking back and forth, I’m able to completely rewrite the entire story onto a new document, which makes it feel kind of like I’m writing a new story, even though I’m not.

It also makes it easier to change already existing things using this method (in my opinion anyway). For example, when I deleted my character, instead of having to find every scene she was mentioned in and remove her from it, I simply have to remember that she’s no longer in it and not include her. I no longer have to find things, I just have to write. It makes things so much easier.

But here come the thing that’s bothering me most right now. Not the editing, not the stifling perfectionism that comes with it, but the thought of what comes after. Once the second draft is done, the story won’t be able to grow without other people’s opinions and I’ll have to get beta-readers which, as a protective writer, is quite frankly terrifying.

And then after beta-readers comes something maybe slightly scarier. Querying.

And IF I’m lucky enough to get an agent, and when that agent then shops my manuscript around to publishing companies, and then IF a publishing company picks it up and offers me a deal, and IF I actually get published, my book will be out there in the world for ANYONE to see! Which ultimately is the goal and excites me more than anything,¬†but… it also terrifies me.

All in all I guess, writing this second draft seems like the beginning¬†of a very long process of scary new things. I’m committing myself to this project in a way that I’ve never committed to a project before (except my very first book but I’m not sure that counts because I was only a baby writer at the time).

I know I have an amazing family and group of friends who will rally around me and support me through every last second of it but still… it scares me.

So I’m trying to take this all one step at a time. Right now, all I need to focus on is finishing the second draft.¬† And I’m trying my hardest. I set myself a deadline of July 31st and I plan to be done by then.

And when the time comes, I will think about beta-readers and then after that querying, getting an agent, and then publishing. And can we please not even think about a movie deal? *faints*

Most of that stuff is pretty far into the future, if it ever happens at all, so I’m going to try not to worry about it now. If I’ve learned anything about writing recently it’s that it’s one big waiting game. And I just need to take it one step at a time. So that’s what I’m going to do. ūüôā

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes- Book Review

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At BookCon, near the end of the event, some people came by and gave my brother a bag full of books. I hadn’t heard anything about Queen of Hearts before pulling it out of the bag, but decided to start reading it. As I read, I got sucked into the book more and more, carrying it with me everywhere I went. I read while waiting in stores, while sitting through my brother’s piano lessons, in the car, while walking through stores. Pretty much anytime I could!

I absolutely loved this book! It’s a fairytale retelling of Alice In Wonderland but, instead of being focused on Alice, it’s focused on the Queen of Hearts. In this book, Dinah (The Queen of Hearts)¬†hasn’t even become Queen yet. She is still a princess. She feels that something is off in the castle. And when a mysterious note finds it’s way into her hands, she’s plunged into a world of danger and mystery, and can trust no one. Not like she ever had before.

The way this story was re-imagined was interesting and magical. I have never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland, but this book has flipped that around. If the story was always told like this, I would adore this franchise!

I felt like there was a familiar face around every corner. I kept running into characters I knew, only in re-imagined forms. Like Cheshire, only this time he isn’t a cat, but instead, The King Of Hearts devious, conniving advisor.

I especially love the way The Mad Hatter was re-imagined, as Dinah’s brother, which I found worked really well for the story. I fell in love with his character right from the beginning. He was sweet and funny and generally insane. But all the best people are. ūüėČ

And Wardley. Oh Wardley. He is Dinah’s love interest. Completely loyal and charming. I loved his character and the way he treated Dinah. He and Dinah have been friends since they were little. They grew up together. And now Dinah’s feelings for him are developing into something more. They’re so cute together!

Okay, I won’t spoil anything, but there was this thing that happened at the end of the book during the climax and it completely broke my heart! I was sick while reading it and therefor couldn’t cry as much as I wanted to but…¬†why Colleen why?! Why¬†did that particular thing have to happen to that particular character that I adored so much? ūüė≠ūüė≠ūüė≠

You know that little leap your heart does when you turn the page and realize it’s the last one? That’s what happened to me while reading Queen of Hearts. I thought there was more to go because they included a sneak peak of the next book in the back. It kind of broke my heart I was like “No! No! NOoOOOOOOOooOO!!!! That can’t be it! Where’s the rest of it?! I thought I had more!!!¬†What?! Now I have to wait until January 2017!?!?! WHY CRUEL WORLD WHY!?!?”

There was so much mystery in this book, and not very many questions were answered by the end. If I could change something about the book, it may be that. I have so many questions and almost none of them were answered. I feel like I have some pretty good guesses on where things are going but nothing was ever answered for sure. I feel as if maybe throwing readers one or two answers would keep them even more intrigued for the next book.

Oh well. The next book will¬†probably¬†be even better than the first because now that the entire story is set up, we can finally delve into figuring out the mystery that is behind the Wonderland and it’s royals! I absolutely cannot wait for January 2017! I’m really hoping to be lucky enough to get an ARC of the next book because I don’t think I can wait until January to read the sequel! I need it now!

So yeah, please read this book! It was absolutely incredible! Definitely recommend it! I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

If you do end up reading it, let me know what you think!

I’ve been starting to get into fairytale retellings recently. I think Once Upon a Time started it and now I’m realizing even more how amazing they are! If you guys know of any good,¬†YA fairytale retellings, I’d love some recommendations! ūüėÄ

This was my very first book review posted on here. I tried to avoid spoilers and hopefully it wasn’t too rambley or anything. Hope you all enjoyed it! ūüôā

I’ll be back soon with another post and, until then, remember to keep writing and keep reading! ūüėÄ