Posted in For Fellow Writers, Words Upon Words

August 2019 Bookstagram Challenge

Hello fellow readers and writers!

Can you believe it’s almost September already?! And that summer is almost over?! Because I can’t.

To try and make summer last a little longer, I decided to join an August Bookstagram Challenge! I found this really neat list from Paperback Bri and alyssaisreading. They technically hosted this challenge in 2016, but looking over the prompts, I was dying to try this particular list out myself!

Paperback Bookstagram Challenge

I decided not to post the pictures daily on the blog, but I wanted to give you a peek of what I’ve been up to this month. If you’d like to check out the rest and keep track of my progress as I finish out the last week of this photo challenge, check out my Instagram ! I’m also planning to do another one in September that is Greatest Showman-themed, so you definitely won’t want to miss out. 🙂

Here’s a few of the pictures I took for different prompts. See if you can figure out which picture matches what prompt on the list! (Or you can cheat and look at my Instagram where it’s all spelled out for you. 😉 )

I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures! Comment below if you have done a challenge like this in the past or if you want to join me in one next month! I’d love to see what you guys come up with!

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Posted in The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Behind the Books We Love – Everlasting

Good afternoon!

Last week I had the privilege to write a post for Literature Approved about the inspiration behind my novel, Everlasting. I had so much fun walking down memory lane and recalling how I came up with Azalea and Malachi’s story. And honestly, it was fun remembering what Everlasting is about. I’ve written a few novels and a short story since self-publishing Everlasting in 2015, so there was something sweet about reminiscing Memiana and Orutia and its crazy crew of characters.

I was young when I wrote and published Everlasting. I like to think I’ve grown as a writer (and editor! 😉 ) since, but I think I still did something right with Everlasting. It was a very simple story with a clear goal and message. I often get tempted to make my stories as complex as possible so as to give my readers a sort of roller coaster ride, but more complexity doesn’t always equal better. Most of my favorite books are very simple.

Sometimes it’s not about how many characters, side plots or backstories you have. Sometimes all you need is a good story.

 

I don’t remember how old I was exactly, but I was young. Maybe eleven or twelve. But I have this vivid memory of following Mom through the aisles at an arts and crafts store and this question sort of popping in my head:

What if a girl of sixteen was cursed so that she grew really old—to the age of ninety!—within a few weeks or months?

This was quickly followed by another question:

What if a boy was in love with her and would stop at nothing to prevent her death?

As we continued roaming the store and reached the toy aisle, I saw this row of figurines: wizards, fairies, kings, elves, and so on. They were very colorful and their facial expressions varied, sparking my imagination. My sisters and I, while Mom shopped, liked to play with these figurines whenever we went to this store. Eventually, a new thought occurred to me: what if this girl and boy lived in a fantasy world? Better yet, what if the girl was actually a fairy?

Before I give too much away, let’s just say I went home and wrote what I imagined to be the prologue of this story. Later on, I wrote the first two or three chapters. This story, or the start of one, sat in my documents for a long time before I looked at it again, as more ideas came to me and I got distracted. When I was in tenth grade, I joined a writer’s club with other homeschoolers and, having finished writing another book, I considered which novel to write next. I came across Everlasting—as its title has been since the beginning—in my documents and decided it was time to finish writing it. I was sixteen when, in January of 2014—soon after self-publishing my first novel—I finished writing the first draft of Everlasting.

To finish reading, check out the full post on Literature Approved!

Contributor Reviewer

 

Posted in Words Upon Words

Tiny Tidbits: The War Within

I have lots of different writing projects going on right now–so many that I don’t often blog about it anymore. There isn’t really one thing I’m working really hard toward at the moment. I’m just constantly going back and forth between different stories and writing and editing. So I decided recently to create a new way of sharing my WIPs (works in progress) with you–Tiny Tidbits. In a Tiny Tidbits blog post, I will share either an excerpt from one of my WIPs or maybe give you some insight into my current writing/editing process (i.e., the struggles and/or victories I’m currently facing with that project). I hope to make this a semi-regular thing. But I say that about so many things, so…I better make no promises. 😉

Today I want to share a scene from The War Within, so before I continue, I’ll give you some background information. For those of you who don’t know, I wrote The War Within last year and entered it into a short story contest for a Snow White retelling (I didn’t win, but I did get an honorable mention, which was super cool!). My retelling is historical and takes place during the Civil War era. Lillian Clark is an only child whose mother died when she was a baby. Her father owns a very prosperous cotton plantation in Virginia and he remarries when Lillian is six years old. Lillian is determined to like her new mother–in fact, she’s determined to live a good life–under her terms. When her father arranges her to marry her best friend, Clifton Young, she does everything in her power to break the match. For she believes she has the right to choose who to fall in love with and when.

Now that I’ve gotten you introduced to Lillian’s world, here’s a sneak peek into Chapter One when Clifton and Lillian first meet.

It was a beautiful day in September. Lillian reveled in the feeling of the wind in her hair as she raced through the cotton fields to the apple orchard, her cheeks beginning to hurt from smiling so widely. When she reached it, she collapsed onto the soft grass and looked up at the blue sky through the swaying trees.

Something interfered with her view and her eyes focused on a bee flying a few inches above her head. She waved it off, but two more quickly replaced it. She sat up and heard a subtle buzzing nearby. She looked behind her to see a boy poking a fallen beehive with a stick. No, not just any boy.

Clifton Young.

Lillian rolled her eyes and stood up. She wasn’t sure what she thought of this grubby next-door neighbor who was almost three years older than her. He seemed to always be getting into some kind of trouble. She usually tried to steer clear from him, even though their fathers were good friends. So, she was turning away when she heard a yelp.

When she looked back at him, Clifton dropped his stick and started backing away from the broken hive. A swarm of bees was rising from the mess a few feet away from him.

This would certainly not end well.

“Clifton,” Lillian whispered. “Back up toward me. Then run!”

Without responding, he bolted toward her and shouted, “Run, run!”

Lillian screeched when she saw the bees following close behind him. She turned and began running again. But when she reached her favorite tree in the whole orchard, the biggest one with the most apples, she stopped and looked up. Then she called over her shoulder, “We’ll never outrun them. Hurry and climb this tree!” She jumped and grabbed hold of a sturdy branch.

Clifton was yelling, but he followed her lead and started climbing the tree. Lillian was only a few branches ahead of him when she heard a loud crack! She glanced behind her and saw Clifton grasp a thick tree branch with both hands as another broke under his feet. He held on, screaming as bees began stinging him. Lillian carefully inched down and held out her hand.

“Hurry!” she yelled.

He looked up at her, eyes wide and knuckles turning white, but didn’t budge.

Lillian leaned forward a little closer, her hand less than a foot away from his head. “Reach!”

Reluctantly, Clifton released the fingers from his left hand and thrust them toward hers. She seized his hand and pulled him up. He swung his legs toward the trunk and started to maneuver up the tree until his feet settled on firm branches again. They climbed a little higher and rested on the top boughs of the apple tree. They sat against the trunk, trying to catch their breath. Unfortunately, their plan only partially succeeded. Many bees still managed to find and sting them, but after a few minutes of torment, the rest flew off. She and Clifton worked through their faces, necks, arms and legs, searching for stingers and removing them. Bright red bumps were forming, but Clifton had obviously bore the brunt of it.

“What were you thinking?” Lillian asked bluntly.

Clifton shrugged. “I’ve never seen what a hive looks like on the inside. I didn’t think…”

“What? Did you think there weren’t any bees in there just because it had fallen off the tree?” She sighed.

“Well…” He scrunched up his face. “All right, so I was stupid. Thanks, I guess.”

“You guess?” Lillian asked incredulously. “You’re welcome, then…I guess.”

“You picked a good tree.”

Lillian smiled. “Of all the apple trees in this orchard, this one is my favorite to climb.”

“Do you like apples?”

Like them? I come almost every day each autumn to pick some. I love apples!”

Clifton immediately looked over his head and reached for the nearest apple. He tugged and when it gave way, he handed it to her. It was small and not quite ripe, but she accepted it anyway.

“A thank you gift…I guess.”

Lillian smirked. ” ‘You guess’? Well, I ‘guess’ I like it.” She took a huge bite.

“Do you…want to pick some…together?” Clifton looked at her hopefully.

“Well…”

Clifton blushed. “It’s just…there’s no one else…”

“No one else will play with you?” She knew what that felt like. Sometimes it seemed like Daisy was her only friend in the world.

“It’s just…there is no one else.” His face was pale.

Lillian didn’t know what he meant exactly, but as she started to decline his offer, she thought about the long walk back home…and realized that as much as she enjoyed playing in the woods like she had just now…it was lonely. Maybe, as silly as this boy was, it would be better to be his friend than to continue to play alone. After all, as Daisy was a slave, she wasn’t always free to play. “All right, then. I bet I can pick more than you!”

Clifton’s freckled face broke into a grin. “We’ll see about that.”

Let me know in the comments below if you enjoyed this Tidbit and I hope to share some more with you soon!

Posted in For Fellow Writers, The Ponderings of Life, Words Upon Words

Everlasting: Free for the First Time Ever!

Good afternoon, fellow book lovers. 🙂

I have some exciting news to share today! While I have put Bridget’s Journey up for free on Kindle a couple of times over the years, I have never done so for Everlasting. But this weekend (Friday, August 10th-Monday, August 13th) Everlasting will be FREE to download on your Kindle or Kindle app for the FIRST time ever!

Everlasting Free on Kindle

This YA fantasy is perfect for those who love the Lord of the Rings trilogy or The Princess Bride as those were my two main influences when I wrote this book. If you want to read the synopsis or even an excerpt from the Prologue, head on over to my Everlasting page and check it out!

Then, when you’re ready, click the link below and you’ll be ready for an adventure with a missing princess, a farm boy, dragons and fairies!

 

Feel free to share this blog post to anyone you think might enjoy this fantasy adventure!

 

 

Posted in For Fellow Writers, Words Upon Words

The Book Tag

I read Ashley’s post of this really cool Book Tag on Inklings Press a while ago and I just had to do it myself!

Rules
You must be honest.
You must answer all the questions.
You must tag at least 4 people.

1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

Either the Little House on the Prairie series or the American Girl Samantha books. Both of which Mom read to me when I was young. Very fond memories of listening to each!

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Current read: Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren. Second in the River of Time series. It’s a very easy read–I read the first half in about two days (which is fast for me 😉 ). I enjoy her descriptions of Italy and the concept of two modern-day girls transported to the 1300s and accidentally falling in love is really fun. But, even though Gabi’s thoughts are hilarious, the main characters are overall pretty flat. It has potential to be more than just a teenage-angst-romance…but it isn’t, really. That said, I’ll probably finish the series as I’m intrigued to see how Gabi and Marcello can stay together seeing as they belong in, you know, two different time periods and everything. 😉

Last read: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes. I was intrigued to read a novel by the writer and creator of Downton Abbey (one of my favorite TV shows) and I was not disappointed! Told in the style and vocabulary of Jane Austen, but with Fellowes’ own unique characters and plot twists. Although there were perhaps a few too many POVS, I loved how deeply we dived into the characters’ flaws and attributes. In Downton Abbey and Belgravia, Fellowes reminds us that past or present, people are motivated by the same emotions: “ambition, envy, rage, greed, kindness, selflessness and, above all, love”.

Next read: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. I’m more than halfway through reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. It’s very different than I always thought it was, but overall, I’m enjoying it so far!

Continue reading “The Book Tag”