Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Post is Filled with Confetti, Colored Ribbons, Loads of Balloons, and Lots and Lots of Noise Makers!!!

OMGoodness! I have the best news ever! (well, almost the best news, but close enough.)


That's right, I just finished it this afternoon at 82,064 words and 276 pages, double spaced. It's done at last, and finally I can start sending out queries! Now, I'm sure rejection letters wait in the near future, but I'm not allowing myself to think of that just yet. Right now it's time to celebrate, and I mean to do just that.

Break out the chocolate and ice cream! Where’s my favorite robe and slippers? Has anyone seen my Sherlock Holmes style bubble-pipe?

At the moment I feel a little lost. I mean, I have other projects I can work on, but Song of the Daystar has been my main priority for so long that now I'm not sure what to do. I think I'll take a couple days to just relax and reset my mind in another story. I’m still reading Starlighter, and enjoying it much better now. I have some homework, and a Dance Performance I can look forward to this weekend.

Ah, what the hey… I think I’ll start perfecting my query right now. I’ve been told over and over that a busy writer is never a depressed writer, and the last thing I need is post-story writers’ depression.

Oh, I’m so excited! This has got to be one of the best days of my life! *dances for joy*

A Short, Sweet Reminder

Just thought I'd post a quick reminder about the contest being hosted on my blog in honor of C.S. Lewis and the opening of the new university in his name.  submissions will be opening on Saturday, May 1rst, which is only a few days away!  I know some of you are already working on a piece for the contest and I can't wait to read what everyone has.  But for those of you who haven't decided whether to enter yet, or if you might be interested but aren't sure of the requirements and whatnot, you can find out more info here:

I hope to be reading your story soon!  :)

Starlighter Review #1

Ok everyone, here it is; my review on Starlighter. Actually, I must confess that it isn’t a complete review just yet… don’t get me wrong! I’m only partway through the book, but I thought it would be interesting to mix things up a bit. So many people read a book and then review it; I thought it would be interesting to look at a book through a reader’s eyes AS they’re reading it… what does the reader think while they’re reading the book? Because, to be honest, anyone can tell you what they thought of a book as a whole after they’ve read the entire thing, but as an author, I want to know what the reader thinks AS they are reading the book, not just after they’re done with it.

For those of you who haven’t read Starlighter yet, this report may have a few spoilers; I’ll try and keep them minimum but I thought it best to warn everyone upfront.

To be honest with you all, I am only on chapter Seven, and as I haven’t read any other books yet by Brian Davis, I’m not going to assume anything as of yet, good or bad, about the author. I will say this, I’ve been waiting forever to read some of his books… and I’m excited about diving into some of his other writings in the very near future (I just bought the first book in the “Dragon’s in our Midst” series!)

So here are my Pros on Brian’s newest book, Starlighter:

There are some interesting plot twists and a good dash of action thrown into the story along with everything else that a fantasy reader would look for in a typical fantasy… chivalry, interesting and complicated villains, an intriguing and deep fantasy world, legends, a bit of magic (and even a bit of science), and a sound hero. Brian Davis does a commendable job on creating a fresh new world… especially one that seems a mix between modern and medieval times (and I’m sure pulling that off was no easy task; way-to-go Brian!) On top of that, some of the scenes are just plain fun to read (Spoiler) (like the scene where Jason is guarding Prescott and duels Marcelle. And the chapters on Starlight are always fun!)

However, that said, here are my Cons:

The main characters seem weak to me, personality wise. A thing I try to remember is that the best heroes are always flawed to help readers relate, and I can’t seem to find Jason’s flaw which is making it difficult for me to relate to him (not necessarily the worst thing in the world, I’ll admit…). We learn about these characters’ talents and abilities, but their overall presence is just a bit weak… except for Tibber the Fibber; so far (other than reading action scenes) I’ve probably enjoyed Tibber’s dialogue the best, and he does seem to be the most rounded character as of yet.

Towards the fifth/sixth chapter, the story becomes a little too predictable for my taste... just for a few pages, but still. It’s also around that part of the book that I begin to feel like the characters are telling me what’s going on in the plot rather than allowing me to assume things for myself. As a reader, I don’t really like this… I like to be allowed to figure things out for myself (whether I’m wrong or right) and sometimes be pleasantly surprised by the ending. But, as I’ve said, I haven’t read farther than the seventh chapter just yet.

But, with that in mind, I’ll go back quickly and say that as far as I can tell, his characters develop well and at a relatively real-life pace… which is a very, very good thing.

Now, taking both the pros and the cons into account, I haven’t put the book down yet. I’m still reading, and will continue to read until I reach the final page, I guarantee it. As the story progresses, I’ll be writing more reviews. And it might be good for some to know that even with the few things I found wrong with Starlighter, the story in itself is enough to outweigh the cons; don’t just take my opinion on the matter… read it for yourself and find out. (and no, I’m not pointing fingers, since I know authors and artists of every type in general – and this goes for me too – tend to overlook small things or problems in their own writings/paintings/what-ever-type-of-art-that-they-do. We learn as we create… :) )

On a scale of 1-5… well, I won’t rate this book until I’m finished with it!

If you would like to know more about Brian Davis and his writings, you can visit his website at .

Monday, April 26, 2010

Closer and Closer...

Well, basically right now I'm doing what I do best when in a spot where the words just don't want to come:  I'm procrastinating.  Yep... 80k down and passed, and I finally feel like I've run out of steam.  Well, not entirely.  I'm trying desperately to continue writing off of the original draft and I only have four pages of it left to go... but my brain just yawns and says to me, "this is what you get for staying up so late last night to write when you should have been catching up on sleep."  Yep, my brain is being mean to me.

But I'm still excited because I'm closer than ever to the end of the rewrite, and when I actually finish it I only have to run a Grammar check and ship it off.  Queries and synopsis (and probably rejection letters :( ) await me when I'm done.  And so, in honor of this exciting feeling, I've decided to post a snippet of Song of the Daystar and see what you guys think.  Now, I'll warn you now it is not from my MC's pov (except for the very last part), but it is a  piece that I was particularly fond of while writing it.  See if you can guess why?

 Tornic had never failed his king.

Clouds swathed the parapets in darkness and hid the moon away from sight. Tornic closed his eyes and drew in a breath. Lifting his face to the sky, his hand rested casually on his knife hilt.

Rain was coming.

He tilted his head and sniffed. The air smelled fresh like a mist cast over the plains in the morning. This would be a cleansing rain; a rain capable of washing away anything.

Even guilt?

The thought flitted through his mind and then away again. He scowled. The boy knows the law, he argued, and he knows the penalty of breaking it. Young or not, his death will be his own fault, not mine.

But that wasn’t true and he knew it. Once done, the boy’s death would lay on his shoulders. The thought sent a shiver down his spine. He’d never been responsible for so young a life before; men, he could handle… He justified their deaths by the many years they had to commit their crimes. But a boy? What serious crime could one of fourteen possibly commit?

Tornic paused, looking down. The hilt of his knife felt cold and cruel in his hand, silver bound leather as heartless as ice.

His own son was almost that age. Why would someone knowingly risk his life for something as stupid as an invisible deity… a foolish religion?

He frowned. Have you gone soft now? He’s young, but he’s aware of his crime. He’s no better than the others; think of that. You’ve strung up hundreds of them, and this boy is no different.

Before he could change his mind, he pulled the knife from its sheath and slipped through the side door. His breath echoed in the passage beyond. He waited pressed up against the wall, letting his heart beat slow. When his eyes adjusted to the dark, he started down the way.

His conscious nagged at him again, but he pushed it away, ignoring the wrench in his heart.

The boy would die tonight.

He would die… because Tornic had never failed his king.


Garra peered around the corner, glancing to the door and the figure that stood before it. Just beyond the figure, large eyes glowing in the muffled moonlight, Ahji waited for the signal. Tornic opened the door. Garra sliced the air with two fingers and Ahji darted forward, slipping inside before the door closed again.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Garra slid from his hiding place and into the open, his dark cloak rendering him little more than a shadow to the guards on the parapets. The first part of the plan had gone smoothly.

Aimos followed behind him. “He’s gone then? He’s inside?”

Garra nodded. “He made it. He’ll try and keep Tornic confused until we can alert the Believers inside to guard Curron’s journey to the king. But Tornic isn’t stupid; I worry that he’ll catch on before too long.”

“Then what? We should go in there.” Aimos reached for the door, but Garra batted his hand away.

“Not yet!” he hissed. “Tornic may still be in the hall! Do you wish to get yourself killed? We must wait.”

But even Garra hated waiting. Where was Curron now? Tornic had free reign in the palace, and his men were everywhere. He’d know where Curron’s bedroom was; if the boy had gone back there… Garra pushed the thought away. Brigh had told him of Curron’s meeting with the king when the boy had gone to speak with Broxe; surely Brigh would keep the boy in sight until the meeting.

At last Garra reached for the door and slipped inside with Aimos close behind. No torches lit the passage. He pulled a knife from his belt and whispered, “Amrytha.” Purple light flared into existence over his palm. The halls were empty.

“Alright,” Garra whispered, “Where exactly are we?”

“What, don’t you know?”

“I came in through the root cellar; I have no idea where we are now.”

Aimos stepped forward, peering down the hall. “Well, as close as I can figure it, we’re in the servant’s passage to the well. The servants’ kitchen should be at the end of this hall, and after that their quarters. But my Brigh will be in the Head Kitchen, if I know anything, waiting for that boy to return.”

“Can you get us there?”

Aimos scoffed. “Course I can. Been here enough times to know. But there’s no hall off this one until after the servants’ quarters; you sure that furball’s got the general good and lost yet?”

“No,” Garra said, “But we can’t wait any longer.” He whispered something to the flame and it shrunk until it lit only a few feet in front of them at a time. Then he set off down the passage.


Curron jolted awake, shivering in his bed. The dream seemed so real…

Men stood in the hallways, naked swords gleaming in the torchlight. They scowled at him and raised their swords… But one man stepped out from the rest: the great soldier from the Mermaid’s Tale. The other’s backed away from him, cowering in fear. The great man lifted his heavy broadsword and smiled at Curron, sending chills down his spine.

“I do not fail my king,” he said, and brought the broadsword down…

Curron wiped perspiration from his brow. Darkness enveloped the room in a thick blanket. He slipped from the bed, working his way over to the chest where the Page’s outfit lay neatly folded. Only a sliver of half-shadowed moonlight slipped through the window, saving him the bruising he would've gotten from stumbling about his quarters in the dark. He wondered what time it was, but quickly changed again into the borrowed blue and silver livery. Lighting a candle on the chest’s lid, he glanced around the room one last time.

I hope this isn’t my last night to live and I actually get to see this room again, he thought. The dream flitted through his head and he shivered. His fingers sought out the Daystar’s pouch hidden once again under his uniform’s tunic. It could just be that I never come back.

Well, I don’t really have anybody to come back to.

He sighed and slipped out the door. Brigh would be waiting for him in the kitchen.

Creative Commons License
Song of the Daystar by Nichole J. White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writers Take Action and Unite!

Yes, you all heard me. We must unite against the evil forces known as Passive Verbs! I’m convinced that they’re out to invade and infest every fantasy writer’s written world. And once they’ve crept in, it’s no easy task getting rid of them.

I'm serious.

These last few days I’ve gone back over some of my writings and realized, for the first time, how much I depend on the word “was”. Curious as only a writer can be, I decided to search Song of the Daystar and see how many times the word “was” showed up. Do you want to know what I found?

It showed up 839 times.

Yep, you read that right. 839 times!!! That’s a big number, no matter how you look at it. And to make matters worse, that was AFTER I’d revised it to exclude some of those nasty “W” words.

What am I doing wrong? Well, nothing really. I’m writing my story and that’s certainly not a sin of any kind. I’m developing characters… I’m fleshing out scenes… actually, I’m just about finished with the entire rewrite! That’s not bad at all.

But then I went and looked up the word "Passive" in the dictionary, and this is what I found.

Passive: –adjective

1. not reacting visibly to something that might be expected to produce manifestations of an emotion or feeling

2. not participating readily or actively; inactive: a passive member of a committee.

3. not involving visible reaction or active participation: to play a passive role.

(and my personal favorite)

4. influenced, acted upon, or affected by some external force, cause, or agency; being the object of action rather than causing action ( opposed to active).

I’m sure many of you have heard the saying, “Show, don’t tell.” Passive writing is notorious for “telling”.  But how does one distinguish between Passive writing and Active writing?

The differences are usually in the sentence structure and the verbs. And sometimes the difference is simply between whether or not you took on the roll of narrator in you story, or whether you let your character find things out for himself.

Here’s an example of a very passive sentence from Song of the Daystar:

The Kitchen was in morning disarray.

Let me tell you now, it took a long time for me to figure out how to revise that sentence because… well, nothing seemed wrong with it. After all, it tells us exactly what the kitchen is like.

But that’s just it; it tells us. We don’t really know what the character is seeing because we’ve already been told what is going on.

As difficult as it was, I finally got rid of it completely in favor of an action scene. I like the new version much better.

Here’s the rewrite:

“Excuse me.”

Curron stepped aside to let the serving girl pass. She glanced at him, smiled, and hurried down the hall. A boy followed her out, pushing through the kitchen door and unintentionally shoving Curron back again.

“Sorry,” the boy mumbled.  He dipped his head slightly, and rushed off balancing a precarious tray of water glasses.

Curron glanced after them and back at the kitchen door. It sounded like a bunch of wild animals had been loosed inside the palace and had decided to take residence in the kitchen.

Come on. You’ve got to do this… You’ve come this far already.

He took a deep breath, pushed the door open…

And entered utter chaos.

People ran hither and thither carrying trays and brandishing spoons or soup pots. Another serving boy brushed past him with an empty tray and nearly knocked him over. “Hey, watcha’ doin’? Ya wanna get run down? Get outa’ here, page!” And before Curron could say a word, the boy disappeared in the flurry of bodies.

Now this scene flows a lot better and is written so that my character is experiencing the disarray of the kitchen… and so is the reader. (It also adds to the word count, if you’ve set yourself a specific WC goal. :D)

To make it short and sweet, Active voice powerfully moves your character through the scene and into the next, and it gives the reader a sense of how the character fits in the scene. Passive voice just doesn’t do that.

That said, Passive Voice does have its place in fiction writing. To quote an article from Christian Miles:

there are only two situations where it should be used.

1. When it is more important to draw our attention to the person or thing acted upon: The abandoned vehicle was apparently found by the Sheriff during the early morning hours.

2. When the character in the situation is not important: The rainbow could be observed by all after the thunderstorm.

If you identify a section of passive voice in your writing consider revising it. Your reader can’t really experience things if they are backward.

So, to sum all of that up, passive voice is when your character is being acted upon by the subject: The airplane was driven by Joe. Active voice is when your character is acting on the subject: Joe drove the airplane.

(For more info, you should totally go check out this article. It is very enlightening. ;-) )

So, now that that’s out of the way, who’s going to help me take action? I believe it’s time to execute and/or banish the word “Was” from our writings. After all, “Actions speak louder than words” (or in this case, passive verbs). Let’s rid ourselves of these evil passive verbs and phrases such as “was”, “were”, “has been”, and “have been”. (And I’m sure there are more, but my brain just decided to go on the fritz.)

It’s time to take action!

(End of Rant.  :D )

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fantasy Book Release Party! Everyone is Invited!

Hello all!

I am excited to announce that Jacob R. Parker (author of the blog "The Yodeling Dwarf”) is having a release party for his Fantasy Novel “Kestrel’s Midnight Song” due to be released this September! The party is May 18th and all fantasy lovers, or just book lovers in general, are welcome and encouraged to come! There’s going to be some great fantasy book give-aways, Yatzee, and live chat with the author! (plus there will probably be a little crazy thrown in there somewhere…)

You can check out Jacob’s websites and find out more about “Kestrel’s Midnight Song” (and RSVP for the online party) at AND

I expect to see you all there.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ecstasy! My Procrastination is Broken!

I am ecstatic! Why? Because I was just given the entire day to do nothing but write, and Song of the Daystar now sits at almost 78k! And I hope to get it to 80k or more before the night is over. If that’s not something to leap for joy about, I don’t know what is! (well, perhaps I will also leap for joy when the book is finally finished… and when/if I get an agent… and when a publishing company finally says “yes, we want to see this on the shelves!”. I will probably leap for joy then too.)

The awful truth is that these last few weeks I have had almost no time to work on it at all. Oh, I’ve tried. I’ve told myself, “you will work on it tonight,” and I’ve actually sat down to the computer and put my fingers on the keyboard… but that’s about as far as it went. I would remember a homework assignment due the next day, or decide that I should finish reading that one last chapter of that one particular book… and that was the end of my writing session.

Now, tomorrow I’m heading back to school and my joyous weekend of writing will be over. But hopefully I won’t pick up where I left off with procrastination. The Dreaded Writer’s Block is flown and I can feel all these potential ideas milling about in my mind. Hopefully this will be a good week for writing too!

With all that said, I know I’m not the only one who suffers from this horrible writer’s disease known as both “Procrastination” and “Writer’s Block”. Every person I know who’s ever felt called to put pen to paper and write a story has felt the symptoms creep up on them at least once. The only remedy I’ve found that actually works for me is to just sit down and write; it doesn’t matter if I’m trying to plan my next step (which doesn’t happen often) or if I’m writing a new scene, or editing some old scenes. If I just sit down and write something – anything! – the damn holding back my imagination will break, the room will fill with crackling energy, and my fingers will fly across the keyboard so fast that my mom will swear she sees smoke coming from them.

And that’s what happened today.

However, I’ve heard some people claim they use a different method, and I’m certainly not going to say that it’s wrong. Some people go back to their original inspiration and try to remember what made them want to write in the first place.  Some people listen to a certain type of music, or look at a picture.  Whatever gets a person writing is as good a remedy as any. So what method do you use to “break” writer’s block? Let me know. If it works for you, it’s worth giving it a shot and I may try it sometime as well! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Starlighter Give-away!!!

Well, well. What is this I see? A new fantasy book by Brian Davis? Me intrigued!

Bryan Davis is the bestselling author of the Christian Fantasy series "Dragons in our Midst".  His books have been read by kids and teens all over the United States and the world!  Ok, I admit I haven't read his books yet... but if this can count at all, I've been stalking them at my nearest B&B for the last couple of months. And why not buy them? Because of money! *sighs* Money can be such a mean thing to obtain.

But, that said, I did find one of his Edge books at a Second Hand Store the other day and can't wait to get started on it! And now his newest book "Starlighter" is out. (yeah!) And to make things EVEN BETTER... there's a free starlighter give-away over at Whispered Roars!

In Starlighter, by bestselling author Bryan Davis, dragons have kidnapped humans from their planet and taken them to theirs, enslaved them, tortured them, and worked them to their deaths. Years have passed since that date, and both worlds have forgotten. Darksphere, the human world, contains an organization that remembers the Lost Ones, those stolen from their world, and seeks the gateway to the dragon planet. But these people are mocked and scorned. On Starlight, the dragon world, those who remember and hold to the belief that they are not meant for slavery are similarly mocked.

But the lost will be found.

Bryan Davis again pens a beautiful, fast passed, epic tale of four teens' determination to do that which they know to be right. The plot was exhilarating, the characters were very clearly defined, and the writing was excellent as usual. Mr. Davis did what is every writer's goal--he created an adrenaline laced plot with believable characters. Given any line of dialogue I could recite the character that would have said it, each one was that real, and the story kept me thinking late into the night.

Also, this book is clearly a story filled with Christian themes. The basic plot line is a beautiful tale and challenge of reaching out to the lost. While the themes are clearly there I do believe the story can be enjoyed without noticing or understanding the allegory.

I'd recommend this book to any young adult, 10 and up. An excellent read for teens and adults.

And a cliffhanger to boot.  (copied and pasted straight from Whispered Roars)

If you aren't hooked yet, then go check out Whispered Roars for yourself.  Or check out Brian Davis's website at  If you enjoy reading Christain Fantasy, then I doubt you'll be disapointed!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Plot Twists are like Icky Little Monsters with Green Heads...

Well, I’ve just been busy, busy, busy! So busy in fact that I’ve had hardly any time in the last few days to update my blog or do anything else for that matter. Usually by the time I actually get a moment free, it’s too late to get on the internet, so I’ve just had to make do with working on my novel (which is by no means a punishment) or by doing homework (which I hate and therefore consider a punishment ). And the whole while, my characters have been screaming at me from the computer screen for the last week:

My characters: “Alright, we’ve been on the same night now for two chapters already… when are you going to do something new?"

Me: *Typing furiously* “Yes, I know! Just hold on a little longer…”

My Characters: *Starting to get angry* “We’ve been holding already!”

(And yes, I talk to my characters.)

The truth of the matter is that just recently I had an idea for a new plot twist which wasn’t originally there… and which is causing all sorts of problems. For one thing, most of the scenes are serious and even a little sinister, and that makes night the perfect time setting for them. However it’s true that I’ve been stuck on the same night for the last two chapters; a lot has happened, and this night is starting to feel like it will never end.

So… should I break it up? Should I throw in another scene in the day this time, and write my sinister scenes at a later time when it is night once more? I just don’t know; I can’t decide whether it would help or hurt the flow of the story.

Have I outlined? Yes, but that’s not the problem. This isn’t writer’s block… this is something totally different, but just as forbidding. And so now we finally get to the real subject of this post:

What do you do when a new plot twist interferes with your story?

Plot twists are complicated things. They’re a lot like pets that start out being sweet, timid, and manageable (even cuddly sometimes), but that can grow really fast into something large, wild, and unpredictable. Sometimes one will show up in the original draft of a story and rearrange the whole tale, but it’s usually alright with a first draft. When they get really annoying is when they show up in the middle of a final rewrite and demand attention.

Say, for instance, that a character shows up that wasn’t there before and demands to be noticed, which demands new scenes, which in turn demands a new plot twist. In my case the character is a very mean general who is trying to find and capture my MC. My MC gets away, but one of his contacts gets captured instead; the problem is, I can’t just leave the man in jail, which means I have to plan a rescue mission. BIG TWIST: My MC cannot be a part of the rescue mission; he can’t even know about it. This means that I have to write the rescue from another Character’s POV, which isn’t exactly hard but can get tricky.

A person who isn’t a writer might look at this and think that writing all that into the story wouldn’t be too hard.

Non-Writer Person: “So, just write out a scene like what you have listed above and walla! Problem solved.

Me: “Ah, but it isn’t quite that easy, Non-Writer Person.”

Non-Writer Person: “It isn’t?”

Me: “Well, why don’t you try it sometime?”

The truth is, it’s not easy. Writing a new plot twist into what was thought to be an already completed story involves not only time, but timing. That’s right; you have to write it into the story with just the right timing in order for it to fit. Which leads us back to my problem; should I continue writing these scenes on the same night in the story, or transfer these scenes to another night? Would it make that much of a difference?

I still haven’t decided what to do about it just yet, but I would like to ask if anyone else has had the same problem and what you did to overcome it?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

For Those Who Are Curious About "Song of the Daystar"

Well, I've had a couple people ask me just what Song of the Daystar is about.  So for those of you who are curious, I'm posting my hook.  (if you would like more, you can read the prologue on the page that says "Read the Prologue".  :D )  This book isn't published yet, but I'm hoping to get something going for it before the end of the year.  (also, if you do read the prologe, the cover art at the top of the page is just a stand in: something I threw together to associate my book with.)

King Morven has decreed that anyone who believes in the spiritual entity of Anahdor must be put to death. Forced to go underground with their beliefs, the Seven Elder's of Anahdor pray daily for their feedom, but when a stranger shows up in the dark of the night and passes them a mysterious stone before dying, they believe that their prayers may be answered.

Young Curron holds fast to his belief in childhood heroes, even if the world outside Fort Gallant is strange to him.  But when a cloaked messenger arives with a summons for him from the mythical Elder's of Anahdor, Curron is shocked.   He is given the Daystar, an ancient and magical stone whose power is governed by faith, and told he must convince the king to rescind his decree or the followers of Anahdor will be doomed.  With the threat of the King's guard close on his heals, Curron finds his own faith tested as he fights for the lives of the Elders as well as his own.

So, that's my hook.  If you would like to read the first chapter, I've posted it on the Christain Fantasy Forum; you can find a link to this on my blog.  I hope you enjoy it!  :)

Creative Commons License
Song of the Daystar by Nichole J. White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Hey y'all, I've been tagged!!!  (and why I decided to adopt a southern accent, I have no idea...)  Anyway, the object of the game is that if you are tagged you have to list eight books that you wish you could live in, and then tag eight people.  (only eight books?!)  Ok, I'll give it a shot...

Book 1)  I don't know if I can count the entire Chronicles of Narnia, but I'm going to try since I have all seven stories compiled in one book.  Those books are just fantasy genious, plain and simple!

Book 2) The Lord of the Rings, every time!  Again, fantasy genious (although can anyone figure out why a person can find them in the sci-fi section of B&B?)

Book 3) Artemis Fowl.  Let me put this simply: child genious, modern technicle faries... amazing read.  I so love it!

Book 4) Maximum Ride.  I mean, what's not to love about books with butt-kickin' bird kids, evil scientists, and strange mutants?  And on that same note Daniel X, by the same author, is just great: an alien kid who can create anything just by using his imagination, and then using those awesome powers to fight off alien invaders on earth... amazing read.

Book 5)  The Door Within Trilogy.  Wayne Thomas Batson's stories are just... wow.  I mean, the adventure, and alternate reality, magic and dragons, and an underlying christian theme?  What's not to love?

Book 6) Donita K. Paul's Dragon Keeper Trilogy.  Now those books are good!  (and to be completely honest, they're the first books I've read with a Christian theme and wizards... love that mix!  Love those books!)

Book 7) The Redwall books.  Talking animals, a warrior saint, an ancient sword, and just plain amazing characters.  You have got to read these books if you haven't already.  Some of them I found to have similar plots, but others are far from ordinary.  Read them.  Read them!

Book 8) I would have to say that I would love to live in the world of some of Tamora Pierce's books.  Her female characters are so strong and amazing... and magic and myth live hand in hand... but with a much more realistic and every day life feel.  They are amazing reads, really.  The only down side is that they aren't christian and they may be a few "close call" scenes for those of you who are younger than, say, 18.  But they are still good... ages 15 and up though.

(can I have a 9th book?  Because, if so, I would so love to live in some of my own stories!  :)  )

Ok, now to tag 8 people.\

These are the blogs I'm gonna tag.  (and if someone else has already tagged you, then I'm sorry!)

1) The Sharp Angle
2) The Musings of a Looney Writer
3) A writer writes... sometimes
4) The Yodeling Dwarf
5) The Flaming Pen
6) Dancing with Dragons is hard on your shoes
7) Wandering-Quill
8) Whispered Roars

(I'll post the links a bit later... right now I have to get off before I get in trouble.  To those of you I've tagged, I'll post a comment on your blog so you know.  :D )

In Honor of C.S. Lewis: a short story contest

While I was online the other day I ran across an article on the blog News from the Realm of Narnia about a college that is being built in honor of one of the greatest Christian authors of all time: C.S. Lewis. According to the article, it’s still a work in progress and the school probably won’t open until 2012, but I was immediately fascinated. Lewis’ books (including my favorites The Chronicles of Narnia and The space Trilogy) have touched the lives of several generations of children since and before his death. As many of us know, the entire Chronicles of Narnia are being made into major motions pictures, the latest of which The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is scheduled to come out this December in digital 3-D. (Those, in my opinion, are some very great accomplishments for a man who is no longer living.) I am just one of the authors who claim his works as my original inspiration to become a writer.

So, in honor of C.S. Lewis, I propose a short story contest: The rules?


1) The work should be no longer than 5k

2) It should use some form of mythology, since Lewis, as I learned, was a professor of mythology and used it in his writings.

3) It should have some sort of underlying allegorical theme (preferably Christian)

4) Submissions start May 1rst (that should give us all some time). All submissions must be sent in by the deadline of May 31rst. (if for some reason you can’t get the story to me by then, there will be a mercy deadline of June 1rst) Polls for judging will open June 5th and close on June 30th.


The winner of the contest will get their winning story posted on a new page on my blog dedicated to their story, and may also advertise their own blog on that page if they wish. The page will be allowed to stay up for three months.

When you’ve finished your story, you may send it to me at On May 31rst, I’ll start compiling all the submissions to post on a page on my blog. By the 5th of June they should all be up, and I’ll have a poll set up as well.

Just to let you all know, I will not be the only one judging the stories. I will set up a poll and you, my readers, will be the ones judging this contest, not me. Also, I will not be entering a submission (to keep everything fair). I’m still planning on writing a piece, but it will be posted in the regular section of my blog and not eligible for judging.

With all that said, I hope you all have fun with this. I’m really excited and can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Uh!  It's raining again.  You know, everyone says that April Showers bring May Flowers; I guess that means we're supposed to look on the good side of things.  But when you forgot your umbrella at home and you have half a mile to walk to get to the school building from your car, I've found it hard to feel kindly towards rain.

In the mean time, rain makes me feel sleepy and unfortunately "sleepy" and "school work" just don't like to mix.  If this were my day off, I'd probably just hang out in my room and work on Song of the Daystar all day.  But it's not.  *sigh*  Which means I have to go to work after school.  Fun right?

Anyway, enough of my complaining.  At least it's warm out and the trees are starting to bloom.  That's good.

What do you do on an ucky, rainy day?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Artist and the Writer

This is a subject that doesn’t get addressed often enough, I think. I mean, give me a show of hands, how many of you writers out there believe you have some talent in visual arts? Visual being the key word in this instance, not literal.  Maybe some of you do, and that's great!  *thumbs up*

From what I’ve heard tell, though, there are a lot of writers out there who believe they are also amazing artists. Don’t get me wrong! They are artists in the craft of words… but sometimes – sometimes they’re not so great with a pencil and a sketchpad.

On the other hand, there are artists out there who think they are also writers. (Believe me, I know a few). They are so sure they can capture with words what they capture with paint when, more than half of the time, it just isn’t so.

And yet once more, there are those few people who really are talented in both areas. They’re very rare, it would seem… and yet they're not quite as rare as many think. In fact, if anyone reading this has a Deviant Art account, or would just like to browse the site, they might find several talented artists who are also talented writers and vise versa.

I guess it all depends on who you think you really are. If you really believe you are both, then what’s stopping you from being both? So you struggle with the visual aspect of art: take a few art classes, learn some stuff, keep practicing. You’ll get it. So you have trouble fitting words, sentences, and paragraphs together in a smooth flow; take some writing classes, go on line, read, study… it’s not like rocket science. Really anyone can learn to do these things! And when I say anyone, I mean anyone.  It just takes practice, as every action or talant does.

And of course there are those writers/artists who can do miracles with photo editing! (I’m still a baby in that area.)

Me though? I actually fall into the category of both. Yes, I’m a writer and an artist. And also a musician. Those are my three strengths. Some people are like that too (especially if they’ve been playing an instrument since they were young – which I actually haven’t had the pleasure of doing... just since I was 14.)

What? Don’t believe me? Here, I’ll give you a few examples of my artwork:

These are just a few of my favorite pieces (I have more faves, but I thought this post might get too long, so I decided not to post them yet.)
So what are your tallants?  Share them with me!  It be awesome to hear about them.  :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wayne Thomas Batson

Just going through my books again.  Wayne Thomas Batson's are some of my favorites.  They're written for a young audience, but the plot is very colorful, filled with magic and dragons, a medeavle kingdome, and with a Christain message thrown in!  I don't know how many of  you who will read this post are christians, but it is certainly possible that even those who aren't would enjoy this book.  Actually, I know it is!  I mean, come on, who wouldn't enjoy high adventure (and misadventure) on and off of dragon back?

Right now Mr. Batson is posing a contest on his Blog called "kill that thread".  The object of the game is to be the last person to post a coment on this thread, Venom and Song, for the last 24 hrs.  If you can do that, you're the winner, and get a copy of Venom and Song signed by both co-authors, Mr. Batson and Chris Hopper.  Sounds fun right?  Well of course it does or I wouldn't be participating!

Here's the cover art.  If you don't think that at least the cover art is absolutely awesome... well, I think I'll be darned!

To Outline or Not to Outline... that is the REAL Question

Hello again,

I've been working on the rewrite of my novel, "Song of the Daystar", and now I'm stuck on a scene that just doesn't want to come out quite right. I know I'm not the only writer that this happens to. So I've decided to turn to the dreaded outline.

I know, I know! I once promised myself I never would! I'm such a traitor!

But the truth is, a lot of writers outline, especially when they hit the dreaded writer's block. When I first started to write I found that I could write better if I just didn't think about what was going to happen. Instead of planning out the next scene or the next couple of pages, I would sit down to the keyboard, close my eyes, and type whatever came to mind. This is called "seat-of-the-pants" writing, and it helped me piece together my first couple of rough drafts.  But let me tell you, the actual writing was atrocious! Some of the sentences flowed, others just fit together in a sort of choppy pattern, and still others made no sense at all.

And the scenes!  More than half of them had nothing to do with my original vision for the story.

I started to rewrite.

In those first years, a lot of what went into my stories were stored in my mind,  though in no particular order. This meant that I had to go in and try to sort out the jumble of ideas as I went. Sometimes I still do this, but not as often.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the value of outlining; I’m not quite so apprehensive of it anymore. In fact, I’ve started seriously using it when trying to plot out future books.

Of course, I’ve also discovered that one can fall into the dreaded Writer’s Block while outlining too; just goes to show that there is no sure and set way of securing a total plot, beginning to end. What do I do then?  I follow the outline, writing the story up to where I became stuck; then I’ll sit down and start outlining again.

But not all outlines are actually comprehensible, or in order. In fact, at least half of my so called “outlines” are just pieces of paper that I randomly jotted a few notes on. More often than not my outlines resemble internal conversations I have with myself when brainstorming, which often contain questions my mind is having trouble solving; if I continue writing and rambling, sometimes the answers to those questions come to me in the form of a random idea that would actually fit the story’s plot.  Other times I'm just left with the same questions to mull over as I go about my daily routine, discovering an answer later in the day when I least expect to find one. 

Sometimes, though, my inner-self decides it's feeling in an organized mood and I turn to the more ordered version of the traditional outline, trying to make my notes short and to the point.

Either way works.

I also use character sheets which I type up that help me keep track of each important or sub-important character in the story, what they do, and how they fit into the plot. I find these very helpful, as sometimes I forget about a character that in one scene seemed to be important, but that later just disappears. Keeping a character sheet has helped me pin-point characters like that and either include them later in the story so that their roll becomes more important, or take them out because they just don’t need to be there. (And for anyone wondering, I find the book “Novel Shortcuts” very helpful when I run into a block, because it answers some of the questions writers run into when writing a book or short story, and gives you tips on how to correct common mistakes.)

So the question was, “To Outline or not to Outline.” I do both, but perhaps some of you use one rather than the other. Maybe some even despise one but love the other. Why? Why don’t you tell me all about it. :D


p.s. I'm sure there are a lot of blog posts out there giving info and insite on outlining for novels, but if you would like to read more I found this page very interesting.  Teen Inklings E-Zine: Vol 3. The Outline

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Writing on Easter Sunday...

Happy Easter everyone! Today we celebrate the wonderful thing that Christ did for us when he allowed himself to be killed, and then rose again on the third day!

I've just been checking out all of my favorite writing hot-spots, trying to keep on top of things. While visiting the Writer's Digest forums, I started to ask myself: why do so many writers feel self-conscious about their works? I mean, we write, then we re-write, then edit, then rewrite again… then we post it somewhere to see what others think, get the feedback, go back and edit again, post again, rewrite again… after awhile wouldn’t you think we’d have it as perfected as we can get it?

So, ok, nothing’s perfect. That’s just the cold hard truth. In my opinion though, every new writer believes that in order to make it to the shelves, they have to pull out the next bestseller. This just isn’t true. I mean, I sure wouldn’t mind finding out from someone that my book had hit the New York Times Bestseller list, but it probably won’t happen for me on the first time around. Personally, I just enjoy the writing, and when I finally see my book in print, that will be like the icing on the cake. (Notice I said “when” and not “if”. First step to achieving your goal: think positive.)

So to all of you young or new writers out there freaking out because you just aren’t sure if your poem or song or novel is quite good enough and you want to please everyone: STOP! Take a break and think about it. You’re never going to be able to please EVERYONE with what you write; what’s really important is that you write it to your own standards, make it the best it can be, and be happy with it. (I speak to myself as well.) If you’re not happy with it, no one else will be.

Ok, time to get off of my soap box and go take my own advice. :D

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A New Book on the Market... (no, it's not mine... yet.)

So the first topic this week: Book reviews. (dun, dun, duh!)

The other day, while at K-mart, I found myself in my usual spot scanning the shelves of the book section. Nothing seemed that interesting...

Me: "erotica, erotica, vampires, erotica, vampire erotica... I'm just not that type of girl. Oh! Artemis Fowl! Shoot, I have all of those..."

That's when my eye fell on a new cover on the shelf: "Bran Hambric and the Farfield Curse." Intrigued, I picked it up and read the jacket...

Me: "Hmm... a fresh fantasy set in an 'almost modern type' setting. Ok, a boy who doesn't know he can use magic... yeah, yeah... The city doesn't allow magic; ok, so he's different. Wait a minute... his mother was a magical Criminal?! *flips the book open*

And, yeah, that's pretty much the way it happened. A few pages in I decided I liked it. It seemed to be a good, solid story. I was certainly intrigued. Finally finished reading small bits, I flipped to the back to read the author bio.

Me: "Kaleb Nation... uh-huh, uh-huh... ok, so he's young and he writes. Wait! He turned 20 in 2008? *mental check of age* OMG! He's my age! And... and he's published!!!" *swoons*

And the book was mine. I had to have it and about five minutes later I did. So far I'm into the second part (not second chapter) and I am absolutely hooked. It's pretty solid writing, and it's a fairly decent plot. Yes, the whole "boy can do magic and never knew it before" theme has been done before... a lot. But we read it anyway, don't we?

For pros on the book, I would have to say that Kaleb has good writing and certainly seems to know where he's going with the plot. His characters are interesting and sometimes eccentric, and his humor is witty, fast paced, and genuine. For this, I am definitely going to look into the second book when it finally comes out: Bran Hambric and the Specter Key. Kaleb also has a pretty spiffy website that is easily accessible and has good and accurate info.

For Cons, however, I would have to say that Bran's character has a lot of internal speculation (not that I wouldn't if I were him, and not that I and my characters don't struggle through internal speculation in my writings). The point is, there is almost too much of it, and I found myself skipping parts to get to the action.

That said, here's one more for pros... I didn't have to go far to find the action; the book is quite literally brimming with it!

So there you go. That's another $15.00 out of my pocket, and a new book on my book shelf that I probably don't need but went ahead and got anyway.

Has anyone else read a new book lately?