July 28, 2012
July 13, 2012
Hi Guys! As you all know, I'm actually on vacation now! Yay! This means that I'm actually away from my blog for three weeks. So, scheduled posts like these might be cropping up while I'm gone.....Moving on. Today, I'm actually a part of author Elisabeth Wheatley's blog tour! I'm so excited to have her here, because she is a sixteen year old girl, who's been making a splash in the publishing industry. Did you hear me? SIXTEEN! So, I've decided that she is one awesomesauce author. I elected to have a guest post, so here you have it!
If something is important enough to me, my procastinating self can usually find the time for it whether that means getting up earlier than normal, doing my chores faster, or not watching the latest episode of Grimm or Doctor Who (but I do prefer when it doesn't come to that, I'm hooked on those shows!). I usually set aside a certain time during the day for my writing after I've gotten my chores done. More than once I've stayed home from a dog show or some other fun event because I "had to finish this."
Some days I can easily write 3,000 words (about 10 pages) in about three hours. (More recently I set a record of over 7,000 words, or about twenty pages in a day, but that is extremely rare). Other days, I can barely finish writing a page in six hours, it depends on how high or low my inspiration levels are at the time. While editing one book, I'm working on the next, but once I'm done with the editing, I take a break from writing. I feel like I've run a marathon and need to rest.
About two or three months after I finish editing the previous book, I go back to work on the next book until it's finished and the process repeats itself. During my breaks, I read as much YA Fantasy as I can, and enjoy watching movies from beginning to end.
When I'm waiting for my classes at school, I'm often scribbling down story ideas, sub-plots, ideas for character names, sometimes even dialogue in a tattered spiral notebook. I work out snags in my storylines, and in my scenes while I feed my dogs or make dinner. Time management is something I've been forced to learn since I started writing.
We live far away from any of my friends and I don't often talk to them on the phone. We text instead and they have learned not to take it as an insult when I don't respond right away. They know I'm probably poring over some scene or other.
When I'm in a writing mode, it's not so much of a question of "when can I find time to write?", but more a question of "when can I find time to do everything else?" Often times my mother will ask me something like, "Are you done folding the laundry?" And I'll stop typing, look up from my computer screen, and reply, "What laundry?" Or my brother will ask, "Did you finish the take-home portion of the quiz?" and my response is, " What quiz?" My mother is normally a very patient woman, so when I say she's had to take away my computer until I got my work done thrice, you know it was bad. (I kept count because it was so traumatic. I pratically went into physical withdrawal.)
When I'm not in writing mode is when I have to force myself to write, but after I've forced myself to write for a while is usually when I get inspired and have fun with my writing again. In short, I write when the time is given me, and seize the time when it's not.
*Author Bio*Elisabeth Wheatley started writing short stories when she was as young as seven years old. She began working on what would eventually become The Key of Amatahns when she was eleven. The story went through countless total rewrites until Elisabeth began working on what would be the final version when she was fourteen. When she completed the draft at fifteen, her parents (being supportive) sent her manuscript to a professional editor in West Texas. The editor, Suzanne O'Bryan, was so impressed with Elisabeth's work that she recommended it to a friend at a small publishing house, Chengalera Press. Chengalera Press was also very impressed, and wanted to publish the manuscript. The Key of Amatahns was reviewed and edited by Professor Emeritus of the english department at Southwestern University, Dr. T. Walt Herbert. The kindle version of The Key of Amatahns was released on June 30, 2011, when Elisabeth was still fifteen. The paper version followed days later. Elisabeth is currently working on the second and third installments in the Argatallam Saga, while continuing to attend high school in the Texas Hill Country. Her hobbies include beekeeping, cheesemaking, mythology, and studying American Sign Language.
After her adventures with the Key of Amatahns, sixteen year old Janir Caersynn Argatallam returns home to find Brevia on the brink of war with a neighboring country, Stlaven. Her foster father and even Saoven--a brave young elf warrior--think it will be safe at the castle where Janir grew up. However, while trying to unravel a looming mystery, Karile--self-taught wizard and Janir's self-appointed best friend--becomes certain that there is danger in the mountains surrounding Janir's childhood home and that it has something to do with Stlaven's most powerful family, the Vanmars....
There you have it. So, what did you think?
July 8, 2012
Can't you just go somewhere on vacation...I'm totally kidding. I'm going on vacation! For three weeks! To be a camp counselor! I'm leaving tomorrow. And I know that some of you out there are just like, "Thank God! My feed will be without her for awhile!" So, there may be a few sporadic posts between now and when I get back, but they're scheduled, and there's not very many. See you guys in three weeks! :)
July 7, 2012
In my Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kirsti, over at the Story Siren.
In the Mail:
July 6, 2012
An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.
It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.
This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.
I liked this book, but I had a few issues with it. Being the complete and total weirdo that I am, I liked all the 'ugliest' girls best. It really seemed like they had more development, and that they would last longer in a dog-eat-dog world. The prettiest kind of blend together, because their situation wasn't particularly unique, or anything like that.
I mean, I thought that Lauren and Margo were good characters, but I can't even really remember the other prettiest characters at all. The 'ugliest' girls, Danielle and Sarah, (and the others that I either didn't like, or can't remember their names) had it rough. Although, someone once told me that no one can make you feel ugly, or worthless, without your consent.
I thought that Sarah was probably the hands-down best character, but out of forty-six chapters, I only read five or six in her point of view. I would have loved to have read more, because I think that her story had a ton of potential, and I would have loved to have seen all the little things in her life, and to have read more about Milo.
Danielle was my second favorite, because she had the strength to be who se really was, in the end. I thought that the list was just created by a guy, but it turns out that I was wrong. (I apologize for having been sexist. It was my first instinct.)
I agree with the principal's thoughts about the list: That all the girls have been objectified. It's an insult to be on the list at all. To be prettiest, or ugliest, but only to the person making the list. The rest of the people are just following the writer. They don't have actual opinions that the list 'matters'. They think that it's a harmless tradition, that's been passed on for years.
But it's not. Everyone on that list has been put down. Been told that all they are is pretty, or ugly. They are just objects to be labeled. There is no bigger insult than that right there.
All in all, the story progressed pretty quickly, and I liked most of the characters. They were well-developed, and they all had different problems that they were getting over. I liked it a lot.
July 5, 2012
Every season, the Circus of Curiosities visits the city, bringing with it the most fantastic circus acts that are beautiful, majestic, and death-defying. Every season performers for these acts are chosen from the young men and women in each town, trained, and sent to perform in a televised performance, performed literally to the death. Two performers from Sea Cliff, a beach town at the outskirts of the major city find themselves chosen to be in this Summer's Circus Act. Both must win at any cost, but could they ignore their budding feelings for each other?
This book was insane. It was scary, and full of dystopian elements, but with a hint of romance and danger. I really liked the character of Leela, because she was so determined to stay in the circus, so that she could go to the center and find a cure for her mother. I don't know if her mother's sick, or just plain crazy.
The story and plot reminded me of the Hunger Games a lot. A group of kids, sent off to an arena, to fight to the death. There were several differences, where the author really made it her own, by adding the element of horror, and the whole 'circus' thing.
For one, the tributes volunteered. They volunteered, without having any idea of what they were getting into. Secret societies? They've got them, but nobody knows. For two, the volunteers weren't straight-up killing each other, there was just a variety of accidents that were getting rid of them. Scary, right?
Back to Leela, Zachary, and Thomas. I really liked them all, but I'd have to say that Leela was my favorite. Her determination, hope, and overall niceness won me over.
To be honest, I completely loved this story. It was violent, and gory, and I loved every second of it. The one thing that bothered me was the authors flowery way of putting things, and the cliffhanger ending, because you know how much I hate that. It's just a bit confusing, but I still loved it.
Selling over half a million books, Kailin Gow has been a bestselling author of over 100 distinct books which includes the Desire Series, PULSE, Wicked Woods, and the Frost Series. She has been professionally published since 2001. She was one of the first authors for young readers to write books for girls with supernatural elements. Her first book series about extraordinary girls guided by an angel in 2001, was a success, selling thousands of print copies in days, and inspiring girl book clubs around the U.S.
Search her books on Amazon and B&N! :)
July 4, 2012
Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.
Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.
When I started this book, my thoughts on it were completely different than when it ended. In the beginning, I was thinking that it would be a book about a girl finding herself, and finally getting over the death of her mother. I was wrong. Those are elements, but really, it was about a girl not finding herself, but trying to be true to herself, while keeping promises that were made by a young girl that didn't understand what they meant.
She kept her promises, but she was someone else. She doesn't break the promises, but she literally did the exact opposite of the promise's meaning. The most important promise? "Live Without Restraint." A good promise, right? But she made a list of things that she needed to do, in order to live without restraint. "Yay, I'm living without restraint, but I have a list on how to do it!
I did actually really enjoy the character of Shelby though. She did her best to keep those promises that she made, and really was an overall great gal. I could imagine hanging out with her, and being like her. Because she was down-to-earth, oblivious, and really, I think that she knew what she was doing. I also really liked Jonas, but for completely different reasons. I thought that Jonas was adorable in his completely nerdy way, and that he would be the best guy friend ever.
I really enjoyed the religious undertones, as a debate point. And she makes a valid point. Why doesn't Adam ever get blamed? He did it too. He was tempted by Eve, but Eve was tempted by Satan. Who's the real culprit here? Also, I've never understood why virginity was so much of a bigger deal for girls than guys. If a girl has sex, people call her a slut. If a boy has sex, he's automatically some kind of a stud?!
So, this book raised some valid issues that girls have with themselves, their parents, and boys. I found that Shelby grew a lot throughout the book, and that I wanted to know what Shelby did to fix her problems. In general, I thought all her decisions were good, given her circumstances.
July 3, 2012
The day David left, I felt like my heart was breaking. Sure, any long-distance relationship is tough, but David was going to war--to fight, to protect, to put his life in danger. We can get through this, though. We'll talk, we'll email, we won't let anything come between us.
I can be on army girlfriend for one year. But will my sweet, soulful, funny David be the same person when he comes home? Will I? And what if he doesn't come home at all...?
While He Was Away was an utterly amazing novel about the effects of war, the girlfriends of soldiers, and, overall, how scary and insane it can be having someone you love in the war.
To be honest, I really didn't care for the character of David, because I felt like he was trying to prove something by enlisting, and that he didn't really believe in what he was fighting for. He was just along for the ride, and he made several choices in the book that made me dislike him. For one, he waves to his 'friend', Ravi, then simultaneously puts him down, where Ravi can hear him. That was just the tipping point for my dislike. It all went downhill from there.
On a different note, I loved Penna, and Ravi, but I wish that Ravi had gotten more character development. Penna wasn't really a strong character, even though they're the kind that I usually prefer, but in her own way, she was strong. Not traditionally, but in my mind, anyone that can live through their boyfriend being deployed to Iraq is strong.
That goes for anyone. If your boyfriend or husband is in Iraq, or Afghanistan (or deployed at all), I think your STRONG! Keep holding on, girls.
Ravi's character was really great, but he had so much untapped potential. He could have been amazing, if we'd gotten some more background information, or gotten to see him more in general, his development could have skyrocketed. But it didn't. So he stayed a mediocre kind of great.
Honestly, I thought that this was going to be a cute book, and I got that, but I also got a level emotion that I expected more of. I thought that this book would focus on David leaving for Iraq, and though it was a big part of it, the true story was in David and Penna's relationship. It was in how people change, and that we can't all be the same forever.
Sooner or later, we all have to grow up.
So, overall, I loved the story, and I loved the way it really made me think about the war, but it kind of fell a teensy bit short. Only one character really got developed, when the author could have made them all great characters. I still loved it though, and I'm glad I read it.