Posted in Reviews, Tags

The Writer’s Book Tag

Hello again! Honestly, I wasn’t planning on posting again this soon, but I just found out that I’ve been tagged by the amazing Katie at The Act Diary for her book tag! (You should really check out her blog, it’s got a lot of good stuff about books, movies and actors and actresses!)

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First Draft

A book or series you’ve never read before.

Hmm, I think for this one I’d have to choose Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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As a life-long Potterhead (because isn’t everyone?), I was reasonably hyped for the release of a new chapter of the timeless story. Now, I’m normally not a fan of screenplays (because I need that description to help me see the play, uh duh), but Harry Potter can always be an exception. Sadly, I’ve heard a lot of bad reviews and people online saying “LET’S JUST PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED!” so I’m very conflicted.

Second Draft

A book or series you didn’t like as much the second time you read it.

Now, this is an exceptionally hard question because I don’t tend to reread books unless I absolutely positively adored them and at that point I can’t see any flaws so…. probably The Ruining by Anna Collomore.

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I think one of the reasons I didn’t like this the second time around was because I really wasn’t interested the first time. See, I got this book as a Christmas present when I was, like, ten.

News Flash: This book was not written for a ten-year-old.

It’s got a lot of heavy stuff in there. Murder, marital issues, insane asylums, crazy second wives. Me as a ten year old was not prepared for all the crap that book dumped on me and I’m 75% sure it’s one of the reasons I’m a little nutso today (it’s definitely not because of my weirdo friends who are actually really great, oh definitely not).

I read it for a second time a couple years ago and while I did understand it a whole lot more, it didn’t improve my disposition of the book at all. Sure, I understood the whole story this time. But I still had that bitter taste in my mouth from the first time.

Not a reflection of the book itself, just a reflection of the fact that I read it too young.

Final Draft

A book or series that you’ve liked for a really long time.

Oh, this is so easy! The Princess and the Unicorn by Carol Hughes! I read this book with my mom when I was very young. I was about six or seven years old, my mom read it to me every night for a whole summer. It took us forever, but it’s always been a favorite of mine.

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Killing Off Your Characters

A book or series that made you cry

Now, again, an easy one. Champion by Marie Lu.

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The first time I read this, I was in a non-stop, read-till-you-drop mindset. I had to finish this series. My life depended on whether or not my OTP, Day and June, ended up together in the end.

But one night, I was probably about one or two chapters until the end and I just could. not. keep. going. I was exhausted so I took a deep breath and set it down so that I could get some sleep.

The next morning was a Saturday. I woke up around 10am and grabbed it on the way out of my room, reading as I walked.

As much as I’d like to, I’m not going to spoil how it ends, but let’s just say that 10 in the morning is too early to be dealing with those kind of feels, you get me?

Plot Holes

A series or book that disappointed you.

If you read my previous post, you’ll already know this answer, but that book would have to be The Belgrave Legacy by Zara Hoffman

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The low down and dirty? I expected something with more magic and less cliche romance. If you want more, check out my full review here.

Writer’s Block

A book or series you never finished.

Now, don’t jump to conclusions about this, but my answer is the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer.

 

 

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These aren’t all the books. There are two more after The Time Paradox.

When I was younger, I absolutely loved the Artemis Fowl books. What else do you need besides a snarky twelve-year-old genius and his kick-butt fairy captive saving the world from said twelve-year-old genius? NOTHING!

Sadly, as I grew up, I never… really… got to finish. I got through The Opal Deception (which I actually read before the first book haha I goofed) and then COULDN’T FIND THE REST OF THE BOOKS!

Still can’t.

I am frantically SEARCHING for The Time Paradox but life is very distracting, you should know.

Bonus: The first book in the series is going to be made into a movie, by Disney, soon AND I’M SO HYPED!

Feedback

A book or series you’d recommend to anyone and everyone.

There’s a lot of books that fit this bill for me, but for right now, I’d have to say Everlost by Neal Shusterman.

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I found this book a few years ago and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT TO DEATH (haha, I made a joke)! I BELIEVE EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT IT’S SO AMAZING!


I tag…


Didn’t get tagged? Answer the questions down below!

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Posted in Reviews

Angels and Soulmates and Sirens, Oh My! (“The Belgrave Legacy” Review)

So, during PaperFury’s first Beautiful Books link-up for this year (more on that here and here if you’re interested!), I perused some of the authors linking up for NaNoWriMo. Among them was Zara Hoffman, writing the ever-intriguing Unmoored, spin-off to her first novel The Belgrave Legacy. After going in and reading about her book, I was quite interested in it!

The Belgrave Legacy by Zara Hoffman

A Reluctant Heroine. A Snarky Angel. A Big Mess.

Fawn doesn’t believe in magic. But it is very real, and has made her a vulnerable target.

Caleb is sick of Hell. When the Devil offers him a way out, he immediately says yes.

Can this young witch trust the dark angel assigned to romance and seduce her? Or will his betrayal tear them apart forever?

The Belgrave Legacy is an upper-young adult paranormal romance. Filled with magic, witches, angels, and demons, this story will keep you turning the pages until the very end. Buy the book now, and discover a world hiding in our own.

The whole premise is interesting, very magical and all-around sounds like a great idea. With my recent addiction interest in Supernatural added into my life-long love of magical mythology, the whole concept of the witches, angels, demons and soulmates really appealed to me.

Sadly, the book itself was fairly disappointing. And I only got about halfway through the book.

The prologue was good. It introduced the conflict well. Sadly, the way it was introduced was just flat. It was too much tell, not enough show. There are some cases where you have to tell, but frankly, this prologue was just a bit too cut-and-dry for me. When you write a prologue, you have to leave some mystery. You cannot tell the audience the entire conflict in about six paragraphs. Conflict isn’t introduced into the story until the rising action. I’m all for foreshadowing, but this just didn’t fit the bill.

And then there was the first chapter. At first, I loved it. Prologue aside, the beginning kicked up fairly well. While I know that dream sequences aren’t always the best thing to kick-off a novel’s storyline, I have to say, this one was done well. Again, there was a slight issue with telling-not-showing, but of course, that was a consistent feature in the story, so I won’t even mention it from this point forward. I really did enjoy the magic and the bit in the beginning, but there was one issue that I really had with this first bit. In it, Fawn, the main character, is sixteen. For the rest of the book she’s twenty-one.

Do you see my issue?

There’s a five-year gap between the first chapter and the second.

I’m all for time-skips while writing, but only in moderation. If you really wanted to get the contrast that badly, make the first chapter a memory, not a legitimate chapter with established perspective. It kind of trips the readers up, yanno?

So, anyway, after I got over the huge time-jump and got into the actual story (that actually barely touched on Fawn learning magic, as she did in the first chapter), I found it very…. bland, cliche… boring.

At first, Fawn seems like quite the empowered female character, with all her faults and flaws proudly shown. She starts out so strong and independent and ready to face the world on her own without the help of some stuck-up guy… but then Caleb gets in the picture.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was signing up for when I decided to read this. I knew it’d be romance. I knew it’d be about the “bond” between Fawn and Caleb.

But a “bond” does not mean ditching everything you’ve founded your life on for a guy who claims to be there to help you when your gut feeling said he was bad news.

And then the whole “Bad guy gets redemption because he fell in love with MC and that changes EVERYTHING” cliche happened around part two and I just kind of…. couldn’t.

Overall (as much as I hate to say it because this book had so much promise), I’d give this book 2 stars.

If you’re still interested in Zara Hoffman’s The Belgrave Legacy, check it out on her website here!


So, my lovely little Book Nook-ers (idk is that a good name idk names halp i suck at names), have you ever had that one book that sounded so fabulous and then you actually read it and just went “meh”? Am I the only who wrote and entire other version of this book in my head because THIS COULD’VE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER? Do you have any genres that you absolutely love to read? Tell me in the comments below!

Posted in Writing

Beautiful Books 2017: Part II

Hello again! I know I haven’t posted in a while but that’s because I have no life NANOWRIMO STARTED! (If you want to learn more about my NaNo project, visit my original Beautiful Books post or Writing page!) In case you don’t know (which, I mean, I don’t understand how you can’t know at this point), NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month where thousands of writers attempt to write an entire 50,000 word novel in a month.

Beautiful Books

In honor of NaNoWriMo, Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ further up and further in host the amazing Beautiful Books, where writers and NaNo participants can share information about their works-in-progress. (Visit the link-up for this month’s here!)


Now, for the actual questions!

-Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

Haha, my mental state’s been long gone, but my novel is actually going pretty slowly. See, Day 1 I was about a hundred words ahead, but by Day 2 I was already behind so YAY! I’m gonna fail.

-What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

People always say that if you die in your dreams, you die in real life. Right now, the way my dream was going for me, I’d better hope that’s not true.

Yeah, that’s my first line. I open on a premonitory dream sequence where Molly thinks she dies. Fun.

-Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I think my favorite character would have to be a toss-up between Brian and Charlie. Brian is the dork who makes bad jokes and fun side-comments while Charlie’s the one who waggles her eyebrows and makes inappropriate jokes about everything said. They’re both really fun to write even though I haven’t actually gotten to writing Charlie yet.

-What do you love about your novel so far?

So far, nothing really. I’m not even through the first chapter and it’s a lot of character intros and world-building AND I JUST WANNA GET TO THE SUPERHEROES AND DRAMA!

-Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Oh yeah! See, I’ll scribble down snippits in a notebook and when I was copying one down I was talking about pizza and instead of saying “dark black hair” I put “dark black pizza” and ended up sending the snippit to a friend by copy-and-paste and SHE JUST LAUGHED AT ME FOR THAT.

-What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I really love the middle and end because it’s where everything picks up and the drama gets big and then everything gets tied up into a nice little bow except not really because SEQUELS!

-What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

My writing habits are basically “OH I GOT AN IDEA LEMME WRITE IT DOWN AND BABBLE ABOUT IT AS I DO” and occasionally listen to my writing soundtracks or stay up until 4am because WHO NEEDS SLEEP. My writing pace is wherever I get an idea.

-How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I’ll usually write in silence, but ramble a lot afterwards about random topics related to it or text my friends as I work and annoy them to death.

-What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

Haha, nothing but my own physical pain and the screaming of my characters. Oh, and the whole “I want people to relate to my writing.” thing.

-What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

  1. Write whenever you get ideas, don’t force it.
  2. Don’t be afraid to share it with people, because feedback is always important.
  3. KEEP WRITING EVEN IF YOU THINK IT SUCKS!

So that’s my answers for this month’s Beautiful Books! I’ll probably be updating (relatively) soon with a book review, so keep an eye out for that and I’ll catch you all next time!

Posted in Writing

“Stars” Aesthetics

So, after doing Beautiful Books and watching my friend be super artsy with all them aesthetics, I decided to make an effort to make some fabulous Stars aesthetics.


Cee

Cee Aesthetic

Kyle

Kyle Aesthetic

Dani

Dani Aesthetic


So, those are my Stars aesthetics, for my protagonists and antagonist.

If you liked ’em, lemme know! And if you want me to do some for my Duct-Tape Heroes characters as well, drop a comment or like!

Posted in Reblogs

10 Tips for Keeping A Successful Journal

This is an amazing post with fabulous advice for any journal-writers out there who might be struggling to keep a good pace!

The Catholic Rambler

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Journals – love them or loathe them, everyone’s tried to keep one at some point in time, and failed epically. Over the past few months, I’ve decided to give journaling another chance, and have figured out several things that have made keeping up so much easier!

1. Start a journal entry with a quote, lyric, or dictionary entry

The hardest part for me is figuring out what to write about, and this is an easy solution to that. Go onto We Heart It, Pinterest, or Goodreads to find a quote, and I guarantee that you’ll find one that you relate to on a spiritual level! If you’re unable to access a computer, and can’t think of any profound quotes off the top of your head, then grab a dictionary and find a word that describes your day. Not only do you have the start of a great entry, but you’re…

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Posted in Reviews

Virtual Reality HACKS! (“Warcross” Review)

Okay, huge disclaimer, this post includes absolutely no virtual reality hacks. I do not have virtual reality. I am vastly deprived of modern technology (Thanks Mom.)

Here’s a secret.

This is actually a book review.

WOAH! I know, right? I haven’t done one these ever. BUT THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVED THIS BOOK!*

*Also known as Warcross by the ever-fabulous Marie Lu


Warcross Cover
Check it out on Goodreads!

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I. Need. More. Of. This. In. My. Life.

Super-advanced virtual reality goggles? Video games becoming the next Olympics? THE ENTIRE PREMISE OF THIS BOOK AND ITS FABULOUS SCI-FI UNIVERSE THAT MARIE LU CREATED BECAUSE GOSH DARNIT I WANNA LIVE THERE?

Shut up, I’m 90% sure I’m still mentally sane after reading this.

Warcross is not only the latest book from one of my favorite author on the face of the Earth (along with all the other authors I’ve read, shut up, I’m normal), but it’s got so much adventure, suspense and romance that I’m totally fangirling over EVERYTHING.


Emika Chen is your totally not-normal eighteen-year-old hacker/bounty hunter who makes her living off of hunting down folks who illegally bet on the ever-famous Warcross matches. Stuck in a broken-down apartment with an overdue rent, she risks everything during the opening night of the Warcross Championships by trying to slip in and steal a power-up to sell on the Dark World. What she doesn’t plan for is accidentally glitching into the game and becoming an overnight sensation and getting an offer from the creator of the game and technology, Hideo Tanaka.

Jetted off to the futuristic Tokoyo, Emike finds herself immersed in a game that slowly turns into something much more dangerous. As the game goes on, the stakes get higher, putting lives at risk and dark secrets get revealed.


HAHA! Look at that! I wrote a thing! THAT MAKES SENSE! i’m so proud

This book pulled me in and got me totally invested in not only the stakes of Emika’s hunt for Zero, but the game of Warcross itself! Not only that, but I found some Legend Easter eggs after catching a glance of a question on Goodreads.

If you at all enjoyed the Legend and Young Elites series’s, you’ll absolutely LOVE Warcross, I can promise it!


Have any of you read Warcross? What were your thoughts? Am I the only person not allowed to have any sort of modern technology that I don’t buy myself? Yeah, I probably am.

Posted in Writing

Beautiful Books 2017

So, not that long ago I decided to follow a fabulous book blog called Paper Fury (that also consequently double my TBR list, but shhh, nobody needs to know). Usually Cait (the blogger-in-residence ((who I’m going to assume lives off of straight-up espresso shots because her posts are always just really hyper and a little bit crazy in the best ways possible))) posts lists for Top Ten Tuesdays (whose rules she’s frequently broken) or reviews books, but today, lo and behold, I found an entirely new type of blog post!

Beautiful Books!

Basically, ten questions about your NaNoWriMo project that she shares with EVERYONE (with help from furtherinfurtherup.net).

Before I actually launch into my answers, here’s a link to the original blog post (because, y’know, I’m actually gonna follow the rules *glances at Cait*):

Beautiful Books
http://paperfury.com/beautiful-books-2017/

Now for my answers!


For my project, Duct-Tape Heroes. (That links to my NaNoWriMo description/synopsis/STUFF, but you can also check out more by hopping over to my Writing page!)

-What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

What inspired me? Wow, well, um…. as a big bit of a superhero fanatic, I’d always been a little… disappointed by the lack of superhero books. Sure, there’s movies and TV shows and all the comic books in the world, but just how many superhero books can you name? (Shut up, I know Renegades is a thing I had this idea before it came out) To be honest, I was also really wanting a good ole’ teenage superhero. With grown-ups like Captain America and the Flash ruling a majority of modern superhero media, I just really wanted to see something that centered around a teenage superheroes. (Yes I know Spider-Man: Homecoming just came out BUT I HAD THE IDEA BEFORE) And not just any teenage superhero. A superhero who doesn’t focus on romantics. A superhero who doesn’t put their duty above their schoolwork and social life, but manages to balance both (Because let’s be honest, even if I was a superhero, I’m not sacrificing my grades to go safe the city. Learn to fight, guys.).

I’ve had this idea since about this time last year because I had to write a short story for a school project and when my teacher said short, I though she meant a 25-page mini-novel, so, um…. poor peer reviewers, amirite?

-Describe what your novel is about!

Duct-Tape Heroes follows best friends Molly Chase and Brian French (who are freshmen in high school and epic comic book nerds. Molly even lives above a comic book store, for Pete’s sake) as they watch their city’s famous superheroes systematically get killed off by the pyrokinetic Inferno, who’s after the “rulers” of the Supers.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there because, oh, let’s say one both of them have superpowers and one both of them decide to raid Brian’s extensive duct-tape collection to decorate $5 sweatshirts and sweatpants, all to fight off this jerk of a SuperVillain because they’re nice kids, well…. imagine having to explain that to their parents.

-What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

So, um, I do have a Pinterest board for DTH (here!), but… it’s more textposts than anything.

If I were to sum it up in words, I’d say that this quote sums it up perfectly:

KEEP CALM AND USE DUCT TAPE

IF YOU CAN’T FIX IT WITH DUCT-TAPE, YOU’RE NOT USING ENOUGH DUCT TAPE.

That’s… basically Brian’s life-motto (he’s an artsy bean).

Duct Tape Heroes Aesthetic
I’m not an artsy bean.

-Introduce us to each of your characters!

*deep breath* This’ll be a long one…

Molly Chase is a reserved, quiet girl who is absolutely obsessed with comic books. She’s lived her whole life in Whiterocks, New York (their world equivalent of NYC), living above her father’s comic book shop, Chase Comics (“We Chase ’em so you don’t have to!”). She’s got shoulder-length, curly black hair and bright blue eyes. She’s fourteen years old and about 5’4″. She’s been best friends with Brian since they were ten years old and has had a crush on her old friend Chance Chamberlain since fifth grade. She has an older brother named Max, who lives in Seattle with their mother (no, her parents aren’t divorced/separated, it’s just…. complicated…).

Brian French is a loud, outspoken boy who’s outright NUTS about superheroes (both the real and the fictional). He lived in the small town of Nowhere, Alabama until his father died and Brian accidentally stuck a fork in the toaster and electrocuted himself when he was eight years old. He and his mom spent two years bouncing around until they ended up in Whiterocks, where they moved into the building next to Chase Comics. He and Molly became fast friends and spent all of middle school as best buds. He’s got short, messy brown hair (think Andrew Garfield when he was Spider-Man) and dark brown eyes. He’s fourteen years old and about 5’6″. He’s been hiding a secret crush on Molly for years. He doesn’t have any siblings that he knows of.

While Molly and Brian are the two main characters of DTH, they also have quite an array of weird and quirky friends, whom I’ll give quick descriptions of.

Chance Chamberlain (yes, the one Molly likes) is a black-haired, green-eyed Percy Jackson lookalike who’s already been promised the role of center on the JV basketball team at their high school, has been an honor student since grade school and loves messing around with technology whenever he gets the chance. Problem is, he’s also dating the impossibly attractive Bella Graham, a girl he went to middle school with (Chance and Bella went to a private middle school, whereas Molly and Brian went public).

Charlie Ozera is a firecracker with short, white hair and mischievous brown eyes who’s probably the most dirty minded girl on the planet (No, that’s a lie, my friends are worse) and enjoys flirting with literally everyone. Including Molly and Brian, even though she knows they both like other people. She’s got four older brothers and is a touch cookie because of it (not because they beat her up, but because she was the one defending them) and was raised by her fathers. Charlie gets along best with Brian, but became friends with Molly in first grade because she thought Molly was pretty and told her as much.

And then there’s Gina. Regina Hayes is a small, petite girl with long, dark brown hair and wise brown eyes and is probably the sweetest thing on Earth. She’s always the voice of reason when Molly’s not around and can talk her way out of any bad situation. She’s always there for her friends and has a younger brother. She’s one of those over-achievers who’s always doing as much as humanly possible.

So, yeah, those are the main characters.

-How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I usually get idea bursts, but when I actually prepare (which is rare), I’ll usually sit down and scribble down a basic idea of the next few bits. But, yeah, that’s not often.

-What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I’m really looking forward to the normal high school setting with the superhero twist. Going from study sessions with the gang, to leaping over buildings, to a movie night falling asleep on the couch. Just…. I love the little things and I can’t wait to write them.

-List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

SUPERHEROES. In Whiterocks (and the entire DTH universe), SuperHeroes are real and everywhere. Supers are an entire other race of advanced humans that goes back to Ancient Egypt, where magic was first discovered. Supers and humans have lived together is (mostly) harmony since. Supers basically follow one of two paths in life. One, to hide their powers and act as human as possible. Two, to openly share their powers (which can result in a number of things, depending on where they live and how welcome Supers are).

CHASE COMICS. Chase Comics is basically my idealized version of a comic shop based off the ones I’ve seen and read about. It’s huge, with tables for the DnDers and MTG players, arcade games and TVs for the competitive video gamers, rows and rows of comic books (because DUH!) and huge comfy chairs for you to sit and read a couple comics. On one wall, there’s a HUGE mural that features all of the most famous Whiterocks heroes. Molly’s brother, Max, painted it. Who knows, maybe when he comes back, a couple more heroes will be added…

MOLLY AND BRIAN’S ROOMS. See, everyone loves a little cliche now and then, and for me, making Molly and Brian next-door-neighbors was too tempting to ignore. Their bedroom windows? Right across from each other. Barely a three-foot gap, which they bridged with a plank when they were younger. They rarely lock their windows (unless they’re changing) and trust each other absolutely… with most things.

-What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Molly and Brian want very different things, as both heroes and civilians. As a civilian, Molly just wants to be normal and hide from everything chaotic and crazy, but as a hero, she wants to do right and keep people safe. Meanwhile, Brian, as a civilian and a hero just wants to have fun and have adventures to block out all the painful stuff he’s been through.

-How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Well, at the end of Book One, I want Molly to realize that she can’t be “normal” and has to be herself and Brian to realize he doesn’t have to bury everything he’s kept hidden under jokes and adventures.

-What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I don’t know what the theme would be for the first book, but the overall message of the story, as well as the accompanying AUs that I’ve designed, is “A true friend can be the difference between a hero and a villain.”

I want readers to know that anyone can be a hero, even if they’re still a kid.


So, that’s my answers for Beautiful Books 2017. Any other book/writer blogs out there, feel free to join in! There’s a link-up on the bottom Paper Fury’s original blog post, so if you do join, be sure to do that!

HAPPY almost NANOWRIMO!

Posted in Writing

All The Wrong Things

Thunder shook the rickety building, lightning flashing from under the door. The boy was sleeping restlessly while his sister was silent for the for the time since her birth.

That was the first wrong thing.

Hacking coughs across the hall, the steady roll of wheels on wood. His father was up while his mother coughed incessantly.

That was the second wrong thing.

The door to their bedroom closed, his father’s gruff voice talking on the other side. Shouts of frustration into the phone as his voice faded, grumbling as he left the apartment and went down to the next floor.

That was the third wrong thing.

The boy, young and afraid of the storm, crawled from his bed and crept into his mother’s room. A frighteningly pale figure in bed, coughing blood onto the worn sheets wrapped around her.

That was the fourth wrong thing.

Mammina, I’m scared.” The boy said, crawling in bed beside his mother.

“Shh, it’s alright tesorino. The storm will pass.” She reassured, running a cold, shaking hand over her son’s forehead.

That was the fifth wrong thing.

His mother’s hoarse voice turned soft, lilting over the melody of well-worn lullaby.

“Stella stellina

la notte si avvicina:

la fiamma traballa,

la mucca é nella stalla.

La pecora e l’agnello,

la vacca col vitello,

la chioccia coi pulcini,

la gatta coi gattini;

e tutti fan la nanna

nel cuore della mamma.”

Soon, the boy was curled against his mother’s side, hearing her staggering heartbeat and breath as she whispered the lullaby in his ears, over and over.

Ti amo mamma.” The boy whispered to her, sighing as he drifted off to sleep.

“I love you too, bambino. I love your father and Abbey too. You tell them this, mi prometta?” She asked, her breathing slowing down greatly.

Naturalmente, mamma.” He answered, falling asleep to the sound of her voice. “Buonanotte.”

“Good bye.”

That was the sixth wrong thing.

It didn’t take long for the noise to wake him up. His father’s shouts, his sister’s wails, voices floating bye. He wasn’t in his mother’s bed, like he had been before. He was back in his own, cold and alone. Groggy, he picked up his baby sister and hoisted her on his hip. Little Abbey didn’t stop crying, even as he planted a kiss on her forehead with a whispered “Morning” and walked out into the living room.

“I got back and-“ His father’s words cut off as he saw his son walk in.

“Good morning, my boy.” His downstairs-neighbor, Doctor Woffon, greeted with a sad smile. “How are you feeling?”

“Um… good.” He answered, glancing between the two men. “Is Mom still asleep?” He asked, setting his sister down in her chair as he got her food out for her. Nothing but silence as he turned around, setting the baby food down. “Is…. Is something wrong?” He asked nervously, gripping the edge of the counter. It couldn’t be… Anything but that.

“Kyle, last night your mother, she uh…. passed away.” Doctor Woffon explained, placing a reassuring hand on his father’s shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

“She… she can’t be.” He said, closing his eyes. “Last night, she was-“ Sick, dying, making him promise to tell his father and sister how much she loved them. “Fine.”

“The hospital says it was an enterovirus, one that-“

“One that they had a cure to.” His father said, cutting off Doctor Woffon. “The ambulance couldn’t get here in time.” He explained bitterly, looking down the narrow hall to the bedroom that not-so-long-ago had been where his wife and son had fallen asleep.

“No… She can’t just be… be gone.” He said, slouching against the counter. Abbey began to whine for food, which he automatically turned and began feeding to her. “She can’t.”

“I’m sorry, my boy, there’s nothing we can do now.”

That was the seventh wrong thing.

A week later, wearing black and holding his sister at his side as his father’s spot next to him remained vacant. A funeral with only three in attendance. Him, his sister and his best friend.

That was the eighth wrong thing.

“You can’t take them from me! I swear, I’ll get the money!” His father shouted into the phone as he silently did his homework with his napping sister beside him. “They’re my children! I swear to the Four Muses, if any of you touch my children-“ His father’s anger words cut off as he slammed the phone on the table, resting his head in his hands. “We can’t live like this.” He whispered.

That was the ninth wrong thing.

He stared at the computer screen, furiously tapping away at the screen of coding scrolled before him. This was risky. Extremely risky. If he was caught, he would be arrested and thrown into the National Prison. If he wasn’t caught… This could save his family. This had to work. It wasn’t long before he sat back, looking at the work he’d done. He’d hacked into the National Code Database.

That was the tenth wrong thing.

“Kyle, is everything alright?” Beth, his best friend, asked as they walked across town. “Why can’t you come back to school? I know everything with your mom and all, but…” She stopped talking as Kyle unlocked the door to his father’s mechanics shop, run by his mother for several years. “What’re you doing?”

“What I have to do.” He replied simply.

That was the eleventh wrong thing.

“And you’re twelve years old, you say?” The government agent asked, eyeing the small boy in front of him.

“Um,– er, yes sir.” He said, gripping the edge of the counter. “I’d like to apply for a worker’s permit.”

“Name?” He asked, sighing and turning to the screen.

“Kyle Tyrion James.” He answered, tense and frightened. The man stared at the screen for a moment, before smiling.

“Congratulations, Mr. James. You qualify. Just fill out this paperwork, and I’ll be right with you.”

That was the twelfth wrong thing.


Italian Translations:

  • Mammina: Mommy
  • Tesorino: Treasure
  • Stella stellina…: (Italian lullaby)

Star, little star

the night is coming

the flame flickers

the cow is in the stable

the sheep and the lamb

the cow with her calf

the hen with her chicks

the cat with her kittens

and they are all asleep

in the mother’s heart.

  • Ti amo mamma: I love you, Mommy.
  • Bambino: Baby
  • Mi prometta?: Promise me?
  • Naturalmente, mamma: Of course, Mother.
  • Buonanotte: Goodnight
  • : Yes
Posted in Writing

Ruining Lives, One Character at a Time

As a reader, I hate it when my favorite characters are tortured and broken down to the point where they’re crying and hurting, but as a writer, I find there’s no greater joy.

It’s not that I enjoy seeing my characters in pain, it’s that I enjoy watching them grow as people. I once found a very inspirational image on my Pinterest feed, one that explains this perfectly.

Geodes and Characters.jpg

It’s true. If you don’t break a character down and take away their outer shell, you will never see the true beauty inside. When I take a character, I see their whole potential, the kind of person they could be at their very best. It’s my obligation as a writer to show the reader this part of the characters, and if I have a character who isn’t ready for that, I have to make them ready over time.

A character is meant to grow and develop, just as humans do. They have to have the good times and the bad times, because that’s what makes them who they are. Let me take and example from my novel Stars. Kyle is one of my two protagonists/narrators and let’s just say his backstory is… complicated.


Kyle Tyrion James was born on November 14th, 2348 to his parents Tyrion and Anna James (née Ricci) in Reedson, Nicson Quadrant. From a young age, his mutation was extremely powerful. After a dangerous incident, his parents had the memories repressed and vowed to keep his mutation controlled. He remained oblivious for years.

Six years later, Abigail James was born, sending Anna into a sickness she would not recover from. Then, when Kyle was eleven-years-old, he watched his mother die as a storm kept the ambulance from arriving in time to save her. Shortly afterwards, Tyrion (who had lost his legs in WWIII about twenty years before) slipped into depression, leaving his young son to raise his newborn all on his own.

By the end of the year, Kyle had dropped out of school (his last completed grade was 6th) and began working full time in his father’s old mechanics and technology shop and for the next for years, he dutifully raised Abbey, all that he’d given up never crossing his mind.


Imagine dropping out of middle school to go support your family. Imagine watching your mother die and your father hide away from the world. Imagine raising your newborn baby sister with a sixth-grade education.

I may have taken a lot of things from Kyle, but I gave him the strength he needed to support the people he loved the most. Kyle is loyal and dedicated to his family, and if he hadn’t done what he did, he would not be that kind of person. He wouldn’t have fit the role he played throughout the book.

So, yeah. That’s why I break my characters. It shows who they’re meant to be.

Do you have any characters that you’ve broken down? If so, share below and I’ll catch you guys next time!

Posted in Uncategorized

#WhenI’mFamous

So, I had an idea just now.

For a hashtag.

#WhenI’mFamous

Basically, it’s for anyone who dreams of being famous (Obviously). All you do is list off stuff you want to do when you’re famous. Like, here’s mine.

#WhenI’mFamous

  • I’ll go on international book tours and see all the famous cities.
  • I’ll meet Tom Holland while wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt/jacket and have him sign it (because I have a teensy lil celebrity crush on Tom Holland).
  • I’ll meet my favorite authors, like Rick Riordan, Marie Lu, Victoria Aveyard and J.K. Rowling.
  • I’ll go to YallFest and participate in book panels, even though I’ll look waay too young to be such a successful writer.
  • I’ll meet celebrities who loved my books, celebrities who want my autograph.

So, yeah, you get the gist?

Now, I don’t have a lot of social media, so I’m going to rely on the one or two followers I have to spread this around. (Also, if anyone manages to get Tom Holland to read this post, I WILL GIVE YOU WHATEVER YOU WANT!)

I bid you the best of luck, MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR!