Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Name Change for Arianna

After discovering that Jill Williamson, author of The New Recruit, has a Christian character named Arianna, I knew I had to change the name of my own character. ;) I renamed my Arianna as Gianna, neither of which Blogger's spellcheck can recognize.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Go Teen Writers Review

Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published BookGo Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book by Stephanie Morrill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best writing book EVER.

This book is amazing. I can tell that Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson honestly want to help writers get published (Thank you so much for not ending up like Bronte from The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet).

Go Teen Writers is definitely a book I'll keep close by and refer to often. It's funny, honest, and helpful, especially about getting an agent.

The only problem is that the book had things in it the authors said not to use. For example, it said "a bit", and then on the next page said not to. I know this book is written informally, but it does seem strange for that to be in there.

Is this a book I'd suggest others get? Yes, certainly. I love how the authors referenced their own books. I just added Jill Williamson's The New Recruit on my to-read list. :) (Partially because we both have characters named Arianna. Don't worry, I'm going to change mine. :)

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

The House of Hades

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)The House of Hades by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even though this book was very...blah in some parts, I was still horrified that The Blood of Olympus won't come out until Fall, 2014. I want more about Annabeth and Percy!!
#another
That being said....

Twas quite predictable. Riordan seemed afraid to cause his characters personal pain, with the exceptions of Annabeth and Percy. They ROCKED. But when Nico said that once in the House of Hades, either he or Hazel would die, I knew right away that Riordan would never kill Hazel. It turns out I wasn't right and something different happens, but still. This book certainly did not tug on my heartstrings. Now maybe I'm being too harsh; I've never had problems killing my characters, no matter how much I loved them. But whenever Riordan had a character in a tough situation, I didn't care because I knew everything would be fine.

I was appalled by the grammar, as well. Never, EVER use a conjunction after a semi-colon. And don't say "they" when you mean "the". In a published book? Honestly?
#seriously
And Nico is a creep. I don't feel sorry for him that he doesn't have a boyfriend; Percy has Annabeth! Percy NEEDS Annabeth. Riordan never says why Nico likes Percy. Just...because?
#idontcare
Also, Riordan often "told" instead of "showed". Frank said the House of Hades was scary, but I don't know why. I only know it didn't look pleasant because Frank said so. (Except for in Tartarus, when the descriptions were vivid and disgusting. Thank you, Riordan, for having Percy and Annabeth walk on an immortals heart. I have been scared by the fack that Tartarus does not have skin.)

I'm happy to say, however, that even though it was predictable and often bland, Annabeth and Percy were NOT. They're adventures were awesome. I love them to pieces! They're so strong and terrific and everything.
#freakingout
The book also was too long (you're probably thinking, "sheesh! There's no pleasing this girl!" but hang with me, please. I do have reasons). In the middle or end of the book, occasionally a character would mention something that happened earlier, and I would be like "...What?" There was so much action that I couldn't keep track of it all.

All in all, while I will definitely buy this book, I don't understand how people think so highly of it.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Author Tessa Hall Interview + Reading Clean

Tessa Hall has graciously agreed to let me interview her!!! (So much happiness!) At the end of this post is information about ReadingClean, a terrific website about, well, reading clean. ;)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Buy it on Amazon.
Me: How did your parents react when you wanted to do online schooling so you could pursue writing?

Tessa Hall: They were very supportive. In fact, my mom is the one who discovered the online school and presented me with the option. I had been planning on continuing my Christian private school--but when she told me about this online school, I loved the idea that I would be able to incorporate writing into my school schedule.

Were you ever rejected?

There was an agent that was interested in Purple Moon before I signed a contract with my publisher. After I sent her a query letter, she then asked me to send a synopsis. When I did, she then replied that my writing was good but that she wasn't too thrilled with the plot. Because of this, I decided I needed to spend time working on the plot a bit more before seeking publication.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people?

I've never based a character entirely off someone, only certain qualities and characteristics. For instance, there is a supporting character named Cole who is very similar to my cousin, Ryan. In Purple Moon, there is a scene where Cole is eating a sandwich, but stops when he realizes that the sandwich has turkey in it. Since he is a vegetarian and hasn't eaten meat in three years, he starts to completely freak out. This scene was actually "inspired" by my cousin, Ryan.

Selena, my protagonist, wasn't exactly based on someone I know in person but rather a combination of people. I'm not saying that I wrote her with certain people in mind, but that I have witnessed so many people in my own life who had started out as a "good person", but eventually started falling away from a Lord when they became a teenager. It's always been difficult for me to witness these people start making bad decisions, only because I know how good a person they really are. They just might not know how to deal with the issues they're facing. I wanted Selena to represent those kind of people, and to show them that there is hope--that God still loves them, despite the mistakes that they've made, and that He has the power to turn things around.

I also have another supporting character--Hilarie, Selena's best friend--who was sort of influenced by my best friend in middle and high school. And although I didn't write a character completely based off someone in real-life, I did give several small, supporting characters the same names as my friends and family, such as: Josh, Jeremy, Christopher, Sarah, Erica, ect. It's been really entertaining, receiving phone calls from them as they discover their names in my book. Especially as many of those characters don't exactly have the greatest reputations... =)

Do you have a recipe for Selena's Luna Bonita Latte?

I wish! I should seriously get on with that, though. Actually, my family has friends that are owners of a coffee shop where I live. I've been meaning to schedule a book signing with them and ask if we could add the Luna Bonita Latte on the menu for the day. The drink really does sound delicious, doesn't it?

It does! Will there be a second book for Selena?

I am currently writing the sequel for Purple Moon, however I cannot guarantee that it will be published. And if it will, I am not entirely sure when the release date would be. I would love to continue her story though, and possibly even write a third book in the series. Prayers will be greatly appreciated!

I promise to pray. :) Can the skit that Selena performed be found on YouTube?

Yes! The skit is actually what inspired the story for Purple Moon. It went viral on YouTube several years ago, and now there have been many churches to perform it since then. You can find the original here.

Thank you so much for having me, Julia!

You're very welcome! I absolutely loved Purple Moon. I read it in a day. :)



The goal of ReadingClean is to promote clean, wholesome YA books to teens and young adults. I definitely suggest you sign up. :D

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet

The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet (Ellie Sweet, #2)The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another amazing novel from Stephanie Morrill! I love it.

Her relationship with Chase is brilliantly written. They both work really hard for it. I also like how it ended, and Chase showed that what he had been to her was an act.
Chase was so sweet at first! (And no, Ellie does not look a THING like Gollum.)

Her relationship with Bronte is well written also. Bronte was so kind before, but it turns out she's a jerk. I don't want to spoil anything, but oh, Bronte...you sure were interesting.

The plot? Ellie had problems, yes, but it didn't really seem enough to be a plot. I wish we could have seen more about how Ellie was hanging onto her bitterness. It wasn't really expressed before, and then BAM, there it was.

As you might have been able to guess, I'm a writer. :) I love all the details about Ellie's book. I LOVE IT. Ellie's book, Invisibly Yours sounds fantastic. I want to read it! I would totally buy it.

Would I buy a third book about Ellie Sweet? You bet I would! I hope one will come. :)

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A New Book

Yes, I'm writing another book. :) It's called A Kingdom of Isolation. Here's the blurb:

Arianna is offend when she finds out her name means holy. A teenage atheist, she blames herself after her brother's death. Falling into a whirlwind of anxiety and anger, can Arianna continue this life after its crushed by another tragedy?

Here's the beginning:

“The snow glows white on the mountain tonight, not a footprint to be seen. A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I’m the queen.”
I  curse under my breath as I roll off the bed and onto the floor. After hitting my head on the wall, I grab my cell phone from the nightstand and turn off the volume.
“I told you not to call me!” I whisper furiously. “My dad said no boys until I’m in my senior year of college. We’re freshmen in high school.”
“Then why’d you give me your number, beautiful?” Ares answers. “I love you so, so, so much.”

Monday, February 17, 2014

Purple Moon Review

Purple Moon (Contemporary Christian Fiction) (A Young Adult Christmas Holiday Gift Idea)Purple Moon (Contemporary Christian Fiction) by Tessa Emily Hall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVE this book. I'd recommend it to everyone -especially girls- high school and older. It'd definitely be inappropriate for someone younger but if you aren't...go for it.

First of all: the title ROCKS. Purple is my favorite color, and I've always loved the moon!
#bestbookever
Next, Selena is a great character. I didn't relate to her a lot, but then again, I don't expect that from books (it's a rare occurrence when I relate to a female character). That did not stop me from loving Selena, however.

I wish we could have seen more about Selena's anxiety, however. But oh, I wanted to punch Whitney for calling it a "disability" though! Anxiety is definitely a setback, but not a disability.

The plot? Wonderful. While there was a tad bit of "improper" behavior, the ending made up for it. TRUST ME. It did.

Oh gosh, I want another book so badly. If Tessa Hall writes another book about Selena, I'll buy it!



View all my reviews

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Purging the Fear of Writing

Man, I am scared to write. Yeah, I go over to one of my google docs nearly every time I'm on the computer, but as I scroll down to where I left off, I think, "This is garbage". Thus, I rarely do any writing.

But I want to write.

Over at The Write Practice, they're talking about purging that fear. They suggest figuring out exactly what's wrong, so I think I'll try.

I don't want to have to change everything from my stories. In The Princes of Ventweno, I've decided to make the twins 16, instead of 12. Thus, I seriously need to rewrite everything. I need a different plot (a REAL plot) as well. I'm afraid to write anything now because I dislike rewriting, which I feel is inevitable.

So...what can I do? If you've got any suggestions, please leave a comment and help me out. :) I'm clueless.

Tips for Creating a Mythical Language

Image from tumblr
When I first started making a language, Ventwenoian, it was a mess. I didn't know what I was doing. So here's some tips to make the way smoother for you, if you're going to make one:

  • Get a three-ring binder. You could make your language digitally, but I don't carry a laptop or a phone around, so a binder is more convenient. I believe mine is a one inch.
  • Get a notebook that has holes punched into it so you can put it into your binder. Creating a language needs a ridiculous amount of paper, so have a notebook handy.
  • Make grammar rules. I cannot stress this enough. When I first started Ventwenoian, everything was random. What was the future tense with one word could be totally different for another one. The rules don't have to be complex; just don't forget to write them down!
  • Make two pages for each letter of the alphabet. One page has the English words, and the other has your language's. Here's an example:
                         THE A PAGE: ENGLISH
                        Across = seed
                        All = omn
                        Ask = rog
                        And = e

                         THE A PAGE: VENTWENOIAN

                        Amath = baby
                        Ama = face
                        Ai = far
                        Al = get

  • Translate your favorite songs into your language. It's time consuming, but it broads your vocabulary.
  • One last thing:  don't worry about how other authors made their words. I have no idea how Tolkien made Quenya, but I think a lot of them have Old English roots. The only language I know is Latin, so occasionally I derive words from that, such as omn. Usually, however, I just string together letters that sound good.
And there you have it! Good luck with creating your own language. :)

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Again, I suddenly seem to be able to relate to female characters! Just like in The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet, I connect with the main female character, Annabeth. My favorite chapters from The Mark of Athena were from Annabeth's point of view. She tries to look tough, but internally she's screaming from stress. Furthermore, spiders are her greatest enemy. If I were a demigod, I'd probably be a child of Athena as well. :)

However....

The book was narrated by four characters, which made it confusing. I'd get fasacinated by what's happening with one character (usually Annabeth), and then I'd get pulled out of that and into something I didn't like as much. Also, I think having seven demigods on the quest jumbled things up. Throughout the entire book, I was thinking, Who's her boyfriend? or How many girls love him?. Everyone was doing something, and everyone (I think) had a love interest (or two). I couldn't keep track of it all.

Nobody really was "usful", so to speak. Piper's charmspeak seriously never worked. And at the ending (I won't spoil it, don't worry), no. One. Helps. They just happen to be busy with something else, instead of helping their dying/freaked out/terrified friend.

*Post edit*
It took me way too long to figure this out, but The Mark of Athena actually makes fun of the Catholic Church. The idiotic leader of a cult "just happens" to wear a hat that reminds Annabeth of the pope and all of  the cult leaders hate women for no explained reason.

Now, on to the House of Hades. I hope Annabeth is in a lot of it. ;)

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet (Ellie Sweet, #1)The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One book about an introvert writer + a teen novel = awesomeness.

Right from the beginning, I understood Ellie Sweet. In every situation she was in, I would have done the same thing. This was the first time I had EVER related to a female character in a novel, and not only that but also the first main character I've related to (except BBC Sherlock, but that's another story).
#thatwasamazing
The plot? Eh.... I wish there was more about Ellie's book in the first 30% of it (my kindle uses percentages). That would have rocked. Instead, we got a lot of "guy" trouble. Ellie was not quite as careful around Chase as she probably should have been, considering his reputation.

But when she starts talking more about the book Ellie's writing, THAT's when things really pick up. I would totally buy Ellie's book. It's about herself, but set in medieval Italy. Clever!

While Ellie herself never does anything "inappropriate", most of her friends do. Just a heads up, this book is for highschooler and over.

Is this a book I'd buy (even though I already own the kindle version)? Yes!
#happydance
I'll buy the next book as well. :)

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fire Elsa

I would pay for a movie where Elsa has fire powers.

*All of these are found somewhere on Pinterest*

There are waaaay more of these than I thought there were.

**Post edit**
THERE"S MORE!! It makes me ridiculously happy to see so many. Which is horrible, because having fire powers are the worse you can have (except for maybe air).

But looooooooooooooooooooook!!!

 
 



Fire Elsa

Elsa with opposite powers! #frozen #elsa #fire

Elsa the Fire Queen. The Phoenix Empress. The Girl on Fire! Perfect. This must happen! XD


















And I don't know what's going on here, but yeah:



I found a song here as well. It's about an evil Elsa having fire powers. Which is horrible. That's the thing about life, though: nothing is so bad it can't be made worse.

the volcano glows red and everyone’s dead not a body to be seen
a nation of ash and cinders and it looks like I’m the queen
The flames keep roaring like the furnace that’s inside
Couldn’t keep it, hell only knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in don’t let them see,
be the good girl you always have to be,
conceal don’t feel, don’t let them learn,
well now they’ve learned!
Let them burn, let them burn!
they’re no longer my concern!
let them burn, let them burn!
Time to show the world it’s my turn!
I wont care, how they’re going to scream!
Let the fire rage on.
Flames never seemed to bother me.
It’s funny how this inferno makes everything look bright
And the fear that once controlled me, set everything alight!
It’s time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, when it’s only me!
So i’m free!
Let them burn, let them burn!
See my fire across the sky!
Let them burn, let them burn!
Like a rocket I can fly!
I wont care, how they’re going to scream!
Let the fire rage on.
-
My power surges through the air and all around.
My soul’s the engine that will burn this world down to the ground!
And one move sparks ignition of my vengeful wrath!
I’m never going back, the future’s all I have!
Let them burn, let them burn!
Raining down Armageddon,
Let them burn, let them burn!
Their precious world is gone!
I wont care, how they’re going to scream!
Let the fire rage on.
Flames never seemed to bother me.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I is for Nothing

I can't believe I have nothing that goes with "i". Usually I have at least one character whose name begins with it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Son of Neptune

The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2)The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Son of Neptune...it was okay.

The plot was confusing. I felt like there was so much information shoved into every crevice, that it was forgettable. Plus, it was predictable. If a character was in danger, I knew they'd be fine. If someone was wondering if they should join the demigods' cause or the giant's cause, I knew they'd join the demigods'. I definitely liked The Lost Hero more.



The characters, however, were (mostly) great. Hazel's backstory is fascinating. But Frank's...it was too confusing. I have no idea how any of it works.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Am Emotionally Compromised (A.K.A, I've read The Fault in Our Stars)

The Fault in Our Stars = Tear-fest. Man. That was epic. When I saw the "About the author" page, I maybe sort of wanted to stab him, just to give him a touch of what my pain felt like.



Rating: 4.5 stars

The Fault in Our StarsDear John Green: As Augustus would say, "It is a privilege to have my heart broken by you". I have no idea how much this book made me cry altogether.

This book is beautiful. The only reasons why I didn't give this a five star rating is because of the language and the "inappropriate-ness" Hazel and Augustus occasionally indulged in. (Plus, the cover isn't that great.)

But the characters? They were so well-rounded. Hazel, a sixteen-year-old cancer patient, seems extremely realistic (I wouldn't know because I don't have cancer). Augustus is vain and determined to make his mark on the world, but is willing to go to any length to make Hazel happy.

The plot is basically two teenagers with cancer  figuring out why they are alive in the first place, and why they should want to continue life.

Apparently some people say that John Green's teenage characters have thoughts that are too deep for their age, but I disagree. Just because his characters have an amazing insight on life, doesn't mean they're written poorly. When you've got cancer (and depression), you think about different things than others do.

Hazel also thinks outside the box, making her incredibly relatable, at least for me:
"Why are breakfast foods breakfast foods?" I asked them [her parents]. "Like, why don't we have curry for breakfast?"
"Hazel, eat."
"But why?" I asked. "I mean, seriously: How did scrambled eggs get stuck with breakfast exclusivity? You can put bacon on a sandwich without anyone freaking out. But the moment your sandwich has an egg, boom, it's a breakfast sandwich."

Is this a book I'd like to buy? YES. I will as soon as I can scavenge enough money.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

H is for Hesi

H is for Hesi (from the Nameless Book)

He's the main character, in case you couldn't figure that out.

I've reached a stand-still in writing. 400 words a day when you're in a "blah" mood for a month is way too much.


“Never reason with angry gragorons,” Hesi muttered to himself as he waded through a stream. “They’ll eat you.” He tightened his grip on the leather pouch he was holding. The gargorons, small dragon-like creatures, guarded well their hordes of syrup-y honey, called liro. There were safer places to find liro, of course, but it didn’t taste taste as good. No one was able to get the gragorons’s liro except the highly trained Hesi.

The Meaning of Life

Guess whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!

Last night in ze car I discovered the meaning of life. Now, you're either going to be mystified, or you're going to think it's obvious. But here we go.

The meaning of life is to praise and glorify God, and to make other's lives better.

Ta-da!