Me and Finals…in GIF

When my Business Intro professor says “no study guide”:

When my Business Intro professor caves and gives one after all:

When I still try and sneak “fun” books between study breaks:

When my Brit Lit professor says Harry Potter will be on the test:

When I’m the only one who followed directions for the group project:

When a friend still hasn’t started their essay that’s due TOMORROW:

When a friend asks me to proofread their essay:

When I’m preparing for the final:

When I actually start the final:

When I’m actually in the final:

When I come out of finals:

When grades haven’t been posted yet:

When I realize I get to do this all over again next semester:

Most Bookish Things I’ve Done at Thanksgiving

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In a few days, us Americans will be gathering in kin groups for our annual bird mutilation rituals. These obligatory family gatherings are great, but when you get all those people together, there are bound to be some quirks brought to the surface. In my case, my bookish side has declared itself loud and proud, particularly at Thanksgiving. I have displayed this in several ways.

Had my aunt summarize the entire Twilight Saga in 30 minutes

It was during the reign of the Twihards and I wanted to know what the hell it was about. At the same time, I wasn’t allowed to read the series. (My then 12 year old brother said it would “bring shame to our family.”)

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Ergo, I asked my 40-something aunt to give me the Cliff’s Notes version. No offense to the Twihards, but not sure I ever want to read it now. Just…um…yeah.

Hid under the table to read my Kindle

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My Nana has this massive table in her dining room. This table is on a very soft, very comfortable carpet. I have exploited it as a post-dessert reading nook on many occasions.

Talked publishing with relatives

My relatives were, for the most part, pretty supportive when I first started writing/publishing. I used to chat them up all the time back when I knew nothing. It was fun until I learned the truth about agents and royalties and market fragmentation and arbitrary publicity and exploitative contracts and…yeah, don’t go there with me now unless you want a lecture/rant.

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Hid in the stairwell to read my Kindle

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Another good reading spot in my Nana’s house is the stairs. The stairs overlook the living room and the kitchen. I have found that this is the perfect place to sit with my current read—where I can see everyone, but no one tends to notice me. Perfect.

Given unwanted book recommendations

I actually can’t remember what time of year this was, but I was dishing out paranormal romance recs to my grandmother once. That was during my PNR phase, but Nana decided she preferred Fifty Shades of Grey and I now have to live with that knowledge.

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This Thanksgiving, I will be picking up shifts over at the kennel where I used to work, so not much else planned besides overeating and tackling the remainder of my NaNo WriMo word count. Still looking forward to it! I’ve gotten to spend the week back home from the dorms and not sure I want to leave.

(But even with the madness, I am slowly working through Burning Shadows by Jennifer Anne Davis.) 

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What are some of the most bookish things you’ve done at family gatherings? A favorite bookish memory from Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments!

Want to be a writer?

“I’ve always wanted to write a book” or some derivative comes my way about once a month and my advice remains the same: Do it. And forget advice—yes, forget advice.

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There’s nothing wrong with seeking a community and people who can help you hone your craft. Even Stephen King needs editors and critiques. You will need feedback for the rest of your life, but you don’t have to rush in.

When I was first starting out, I was pretty much isolated from the writing community. That was a good thing. Once I joined, I met some amazing people, but if I hadn’t already been so committed, the other kind would have scared me off.

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For reasons beyond me, a lot of veteran writers (other artists, too) treat it as their personal responsibility to decide who “should” be in their field. There’s this unspoken loathing for the newcomers who “think it’s easy” (though I’m guessing you already know better). But who cares how many typos there are? If you get to those magical words—The End—you’ve already surpassed most the world and deserve a round of applause.

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Don’t waste your time with bridge trolls who attack newcomers. Find some helpful fairy who points you in the right direction. Or just become a hermit for a few years like I did.

Ultimately, you are an individual, original human being and no one else can tell the story in your heart. I’ve seen far too many people with genuine talent give up. This is a high investment, often low return business and it’s easy to get discouraged. So keep your chin up, work on that thick skin, and remember you are the only person in existence who can write that book.

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But above all else, keep writing, keep writing, KEEP WRITING.

Writing Update: April 2016

Writing this blog post is, in great part, a procrastination tactic for the arduous task of blurb writing. What blurb, you ask? Why, the blurb for the sparkly new, remade cover edition of The Secrets of the Vanmars. After more than a year, it is at last making its way into the world. Cue the celebratory dancing!giphy2I’ve been working on this baby covertly off and on for the past few months weeks. I just didn’t want to announce anything until I was sure I would be releasing it. But as soon as I get a workable version of the blurb, TSOTV mark 2 is off to the printers for final proofreading. The revamped cover reveal is April 22nd of this month and assaulting shelves May 24th. I am consuming semi-toxic doses of caffeine and writing like mad to make sure this happens.tumblr_nk306n7l7o1qdjpm4o1_500The third book’s re-release (and first-ever print release) should be emerging around late July (cover designer’s schedule permitting). If  everything works out with the designer and if I don’t drop the proverbial ball, I will get the fourth book out in December. (And yes, I know that’s the one you all actually want.)giphy5Daindreth’s Assassin is now officially querying to agents (yay), but the Fanged Princess novellas are on hold for the moment. I wanted to have the fourth novella at least partially drafted before I released the third, but Haddie is not being cooperative. Ideally, I’ll be releasing that third novella before the end of the year, too. (Yeah, yeah, I know you’re thinking “she said this last year.” Kindly don’t remind me.)giphy8It only seems fair to tell you the whole truth of why my writing has been so slow lately. Is this not the girl who boasted 3k quotas per day? The fact is that between my obsessive workouts, day job, school, and taking care of the clan, things have been pretty rocky. Also, I’ve been struggling for months now with some icky emotional stuff that I won’t whine about here, but that’s been a huge part of my slacking. And come fall, I will be moving out on my own for the first time (into a dorm, but still) and with that comes the impending student loans along with the realization that I’ll be 21 this year. giphy7So that’s your update. Now back to that damnable blurb and my latest Creative Writing essay…

One Genre to Rule Them All: A (very) biased opinion as to why fantasy is superior

Believe it or not, I was once too good for fantasy. I thought the idea was silly, after all, who could take all that magic and monsters seriously, hmm? Not me, that was for sure. But as I have said before, it seems to be my lot in life to end up adoring/obsessed with things I once disliked. Eight years ago, I discovered fantasy literature and now there’s no going back.

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As a reader, fantasy adds a level of excitement and, for lack of a better word, awesome to stories that I just can’t find anywhere else. As a writer, fantasy opens up creative opportunities in a whole new way.

It’s far easier to get around a reader’s preformed ideas about a society or time period because I build my own and I don’t have to feel guilty about historical accuracy, though I often try. If, in a fit of idealistic fervor I decide I want to throw in a certain social issue (like I did in the Argetallam Saga with people’s black and white viewpoints on war) I can do it in a way I think offers better perspective, is more tactful…and less likely to incite confrontation.

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In fantasy, can have our good old fashioned political intrigue and military tactics, but then we can have the added bonus of sorcery, monsters in literally every shape and size, and whatever else we want. Unlike science fiction, we don’t need to adhere to the laws of physics, because we can make our own. We can pick and choose which fragments of realism we want and scrap the ones we don’t. Furthermore, fantasy allows us free rein to use reverted morality systems based in chivalry and honor and I far prefer that over most modern paradigms. (I’ve said I was old fashioned before.)

Being a teen girl, I am also very fond of romance and in this genre there is more than rhapsodizing or attraction (though I’ve read and written plenty of both). Here we have the opportunity for love across lifetimes or worlds and stakes that can be an individual’s very soul. There’s the chance for mystical bonds and soulmates and…sigh.

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With mages, dragons, knights, viragos, and every other form of the mythic and legendary, the potential of fantasy is limitless and its ability to transcend the boundaries of our world is unparalleled. Though I might read other genres and occasionally write something that isn’t swords and sorcery, epic fantasy is my one true literary love and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Top Ten Favorite Bromances

In the wake of last week’s bromance talk, I decided to write up a blog post detailing my top ten favorite bromances.

Darmik and Neco (True Reign series by Jennifer Anne Davis)

Their bromance isn’t really in plain sight until the second book in the trilogy, but I adore it. They have that whole brothers at arms thing going on and that just gets to me.

Peter Pevensie and Edmund Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis)

These two brothers fight, argue, and are basically just boys. But they always have each other’s backs. I especially love how Edmund is there for Peter in the later books and movies. So sweet.

Gimli and Legolas (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien)

I particularly like the Legolas/Gimli dynamic. They start off making racist jibes at one another and end up sailing off into the unknown as BFF’s. (Shh, don’t tell Thranduil.)

Devon and Julian (The Kindred series by Erica Stevens)

Unless you’ve read the last three books in the series, this won’t make sense. Devon and Julian are literally trying to kill each other in books 1-2, but bond over their shared love of Cassie and their desire to protect her. In the end, they get over their jealousy of one another and stand shoulder to shoulder, a true bromance.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

If this one needs explaining, go read the books and then we’ll talk.

Will Treaty and Horace (Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan)

In the beginning, Horace is the bully who kicks little Will’s backside for laughs. Then as girls, war, bigger bullies, giant pigs, battles, and other horrors assail them, they become close friends, even besties. I may have decided I disliked this series after book 5, but their relationship was still adorable.

Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, and Castiel (Supernatural, created by Eric Kripke)

Okay. Talk about a bromance! Nine seasons of these idiots killing monsters, betraying, making up, going to hell, going to heaven, coming back, dying, resurrecting, hunting, crying, being there for each other, missing each other—yeah. It’s just really hard not to love these guys.

Dorian Haviliard and Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas)

As Crown Prince and Captain of the Guard, there is a certain class barrier, but they’re both one another’s only true friends and it’s precious to see them tease and scold each other. I really hope their friendship isn’t damaged after Crown of Midnight because that would suck rotten eggs. (GO TEAM CHAOL!!!)

Terence and Sir Gawaine (The Squire’s Tales series by Gerald Morris)

They start out as a teacher/student type duo, but as Terence gets older, Gawaine becomes closer to Terence than his own siblings. Then they become brothers-in-law, thus canonizing their bromance.

Arthur and Merlin (The Adventures of Merlin, created by Julian Jones)

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Oh my gosh, I started this series two weeks ago and I’m besotted. The brotherly relationship between Merlin and Arthur—with all their teasing and name-calling and being willing to die for one another—is definitely one of the highlights.

Thus concludes my Top Ten. If you haven’t read/watched any of these series, you really should. What are you favorite bromances?