Friday, 8 September 2017

A few exciting things from around the blogosphere || [I'm not procrastinating, you're procrastinating]

I'm supposed to be working on my tertiary studies right now. Or updating/rewriting my resume because MY LIBRARY HAS A POSITION OPEN for one week only. (The last two times I [obviously] didn't get the job, but I just have to keep trying... the head librarian wants me there, so eventually it's got to happen! xD)

And instead I'm wandering the writerly circles of the blogosphere.

I know right. Such a surprise.

BUT I FOUND OUT SOME INTERESTING THINGS. Which I thought I'd share with you, because I haven't seen anyone talking about them in the blogs I follow... so you might not hear about these things either. So I'm telling you, just to make sure.

Firstly, Project Canvas has a blog. I was pleased to see that, because I hadn't heard any updates from Project Canvas for a while and I was hoping it hadn't died a slow and lingering death. It's true that there's only one post, a 'welcome!' one from a month ago, but by following the blog I can keep myself in the loop.

If you don't know about Project Canvas, the basic idea is that
"A group of teen and young adult writers from around the globe have come together to write a book of advice and inspiration for fellow writers.

I said (several months ago) that I could probably help with some editing, but I actually don't know how the book's progressing... its projected publication date is in 2018, but I haven't had to edit anything, so it's possible they didn't need my help.

I don't know! Maybe you've all submitted articles? and you're keeping a close eye on the whole project? and I know at least five of my followers are already following the blog. BUT THIS IS JUST IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T HEARD.

Just as a note, Hannah is part of the Project Canvas team! And so are Abigayle and Aimee - I don't know them well, but I've seen them around the blogosphere, so some of you would know them.

_ _ _ _ _

Jennifer A. Nielsen is running a competition for her new book (Feb 2018), The Traitor's Game. (She says the book will appeal to fans of The False Prince - so, naturally, I'm in!)

The competition is different to the usual sort seen on the blogosphere, too: She posts a photo of where she is, and we guess in the comments (she edits out the answers, though, so no sneaky copying there! ;). Correct state is 1 point; city is 4 points. There will be 10 photos, and the person with the most points at the end wins. The prize is a galley of The Traitor's Game.
The first photo is here!
- but I'm not sure how much longer it's open (or if I'm such a slack poster that it's already shut...)

(To be honest, I'd do this even if there was no prize. It makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes. Mwahaha.)

(Although the fact that I'm not from the USA might put me at a disadvantage, as I have no idea about American tourist spots/heritage buildings/anything else like that which might be put in a photograph...)

_ _ _ _ _

And... there was something else I was going to say... ??


Catherine Meek, one of the [main?] people behind Project Canvas, is joining with Aimee to create a kind of blogging link-up thing! Except this one will really tickle the fancy of any of you who like snail mail...

One blogger will get the Friendly Neighborhood Journal in the post, put some poetry/art/encouraging words/something nice etc into the pages, and then post it to the next address (which Catherine and Aimee provide). And when it arrives, the process will be repeated.

These guys are sending an actual. physical. notebook. ACROSS THE USA. (+ possibly the world? at least, I'm in Australia.) Imagine the love + faith + encouragement that could come from that! Imagine a book, slightly travel-worn, slim, but heavy with the words of friends and strangers, overflowing with kind and uplifting words. Imagine receiving it in the mail.

I'm in love with the idea.

There is the problem with providing a physical address. Seriously, I don't want anyone on the internet to be able to find me!? But I'm hoping it can be sorted out - Catherine suggested, in response to another blogger's concerns, that they could sandwich a blogger between two people s/he knows, so sharing the address wouldn't be a problem. I think that would work for me??

So basically I want to see ALL YOUR NAMES in this Friendly Neighborhood Journal when it arrives in my mailbox.  ;D

_ _ _ _ _

Are you familiar with Project Canvas? (Did you submit an article?) Have you read The False Prince? (and if not, what are you doing with your life???) Do you love snail mail? Might you, maybe, be signing up for #thefriendlyneighborhoodjournal ?? 

And how do you keep up with what's happening in the blogosphere? because it's a bit hit-and-miss for me. (Same as for what books are being released.)

Note: I may not be around much for the next two weeks. I'm doing work experience at... *fanfare* the library. (*cue surprise all round*) Plus I should probably study. Probably. So I'll see how things go. I'll definitely still reply to your lovely comments, though!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Beware: I'm a Writer || or: meet my family!

Everyone knows writers are dangerous people to be around, right? We have the whole "if you annoy me I'll put you in my book and kill you" thing.

Which I have never done. Yet.

But people-watching is a great way to get new characters. Or figure out how your characters would realistically act. Or get hilarious dialogue. Which is what I'm here for today.

Sometimes I overhear things I reeeally want to use in my writing. And, since I don't leave the house that often, most of these things are overheard from my family.

If you're reading this, my dear family... I'm sorry. But you're living with a writer.

things my family have said (that I want to put in a book one day)

Sister 2: Are you asleep?
Me: ...yes.

Brother 2: "Canada's crashing the holiday bus!"
[I refuse to give you any context.]

Sister: Why is there water in my spot? *stabs it with her fork*

Me: ...why are you wearing sunglasses?
Brother 1: these are not sunglasses
Brother 1: these are night vision glasses
Brother 1: they make it look like it's night

Brother 2: I see two stars in a line!

Brother 2: (singing) You make me wanna shout
                  Kick my heels up and shout
                  Throw my arms up and shout
                  *trails off* ...and catch them?
Me: ...How?
Brother 2: ...with my hands. I kept those.

Sister 1: Do I have conversation in my eyes??

Mum: New rule. No Batman at the dinner table.
Sister 1: *hands still spread over her face in a 'mask'* *raspy voice* But... I'm Batman.
Mum: No.
Sister 1: ...
Sister 1: *dives under table*
Sister 1: *comes back out, rather disheveled* Batman had to go.
[We'd just seen the trailer for The Lego Batman Movie. Just. the. trailer.]

Mum: What are you doing on the roof?
General sibling group: ...what?
Mum: What are you doing on the roof?

Sister 1: You get too attached to things that are too easily broken.
Brother 2: *clutches his Lego creations protectively*
Brother 2: You used to cry too when it was pack-up time.

Brother 1: Can I borrow your camera? I'll try not to fill it up.
Me: With photos of bugs?
Brother 1: *walking away* *completely seriously* No, dragons. 

Brother 2: *into disconnected radio* Got a coffee, mate, got a coffee?
Me: ...
[I don't know how universal it may or may not be, but Aussie truckies open UHF conversations with "Got a copy, mate?"]

Sister 1: My genius is ruined on you.
Me: I think you mean wasted?

Any sibling: There's a bug in my dinner!!
Dad: It's fine. He won't eat much.
[On the other hand, if it's a caterpillar, the answer is "He only tastes like the cabbage, that's all he's ever eaten..."]

Sister 1: She thinks she's the bee's bonnets.

Sister 1: *drinking*
Me: *comes into kitchen*
Sister 1: *drops cup of water* *slaps her hands across her face in her 'mask'*
               *raspy voice* ...What do you want?
Me: ...
Me: Don't forget to clean that up.
Sister 1: ...but I'm Batman.

Sister 1 is the drama queen of the family (and the possibility of her reading this post is... higher than I'd like.) Do you have siblings, and do they sometimes say downright hilarious things? Or are you the hilarious one in your family? What's the funniest dialogue you've overheard? (doesn't have to be from your family!) Is this standard Dad behaviour, and do you have any message for Sister 1?? (I suggest stop being such a drama queen, kid, but I suppose I'm biased?)

Friday, 25 August 2017

Beautiful People #27 || I finally talk about Three Sisters

Annnd August's Beautiful People has been open since - well - the start of August?? - but I'm just getting around to it now. (Because if I procrastinate too much longer, it'll be September.)

Beautiful People is a link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, so thank'ee kindly, ladies, for that.

I'm going to go with one of my three major characters from Three Sisters for this. (You would never have guessed there were three major characters in a story with the working title Three Sisters, would you??)

I should probably give a little context? since I haven't talked much about my writing at all?)
There are three sisters in Three Sisters (cue more astonished surprise); Billie, Elsie and Josie (or Ells and Josh... but never Bill). They live in a forest, in a cottage they [Billie, mostly] built themselves, and in varying degrees of uncomfortable-ness. Josie likes the freedom and spends her time riding their bony old horse around and waving a bow; despite having lived in the forest for seven months, she still views their life as a great adventure. Elsie... well, she had a life before they came to live here; she dislikes the forest, pours her heart into her writing, and feels her sisters don't appreciate how hard she works making their life tolerable (she does the cooking etc). Billie does appreciate Elsie, but she won't say it; they've all had to make sacrifices for this new life, and Billie keeps it going by sheer stubbornness and very hard physical labour.

The story opens with Josie coming home unusually rattled; she was caught poaching in the forest by its legendary resident beast, who demanded her life in forfeit. Billie makes light of it, but when the Beast turns up at their cottage, furious that Josie didn't honour her bargain (to say goodbye to her sisters and then return), Billie is ready with the crossbow. Which... is a commendable effort, but doesn't do much. Out of options, she offers herself to pay for her sister's crime; although she isn't aware, this, according to traditions held from ancient times, is binding: the Beast can neither refuse, nor in any way harm her.

So now Elsie and Josie, believing Billie dead, argue and leave the safety of their cottage. Meanwhile the Beast - who, as I'm writing him, is turning out more and more like a grumpy/legalistic but very bewildered great-uncle who just wants to be left in his library while everyone follows the RULES (no romance involving him, by the way) - has an angry young woman prowling around his house and smashing his china because she can't leave but she can see (via a handy book that's basically a magic mirror in book form) her sisters making dangerous choices without her there to stop them.

Annnd... that's basically as far as two 10k Camp Nanos have taken me.

I have more in mind, including a Cinderella thread, a Robin Hood thread + bandits, an angry empress, sisterly loyalty + sisterly fury, and nods to various fairy tales.

Please note: all of this is regarding a nowhere-near-finished first draft. Characters and plot are still developing. Answers are not set in stone. In fact, I will probably tend to waffle for a while and then admit I don't know the answers.

Oh, and I'm answering these questions for Billie. ;) Time-wise, this is probably... soon after she's taken?

What are they addicted to/can’t live without? 

Billie can't live without her own strength. She has to be in control of the world/situation around her. So... does that make her... addicted to power??

That... was not my intention.

But the transition to her new life in the forest has meant she's had to live without a lot of things, and (so far as I know) she's not addicted to anything physical. Like, say, coffee. (That's a strange foreign drink which [it's strongly implied that] one of the other characters introduces them to.) So I think anything she can't live without is definitely non-physical.

Like power  control of the world around her her own strength, so she can protect herself and her sisters. (Because that has gone amazingly so far... I suppose she did manage to keep things going for seven months, though.)

It's actually also likely that she can't live (or wouldn't have been able to create this new life) without her anger (see the 'what are they holding on to' and the 'someone they resent' questions, below).

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

Positive: Protective, strong-willed, strong
Negative: Over-protective/controlling, stubborn, relies on her own strength instead of trusting others

Oh look, they're basically the same. I love it when that happens. I think it's a good thing for characters' strengths to potentially be their weaknesses.

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of? 

I can't think of anything. As far as physical objects go, anything with an emotional attachment got dumped when their forest life started. Instead she keeps a simmering lump of completely justified anger and resentment.

...I suppose she should get rid of that??

...Or I could kill the other person.

...After all, that lump of bad feelings is probably 49% of what drives her to make their new life succeed, no matter how hard it is. (Basically, out of spite. "Haha you dumped us, but look at us now. We're doing F I N E." *attacks problem with sharp-bladed shovel* "JUST F I N E.")

(The other 51% is protectiveness. Because I too am a big sister.)

(I think we're far enough off topic now and I should move on.)

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale? 

Um. She used to be probably an 8? but her new life involves a lot of nature and nature isn't really something you can keep organised. I think she likes inside the cottage to be tidy (at least, she put up hooks and stuff), but otherwise she's silently rebelling against her old life and has embraced the mud and sweat and deliberately does things which she would never have done in her old life because #ew. Not that that's relevant to how organised she is. I'd say probably more like a 4 or 5 now.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in? 

Billie gets frustrated when she can't control the world around her. She did it in her old life, and with enough stubbornness and sweat, she can usually do it in this new one. Except when she can't. Mostly that's because of the Beast, but sometimes it's Elsie or Josie being rebellious.

e.g. [Billie yelling at the book:] "I told you not to leave the house where do you think you're going get back here this instant or else" (Beast: "I'll just... there was something I urgently had to do... on the other side of the house." *leaves awkwardly*)

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in? 

I may have mentioned "rebelling against her old life" and "spite" in my previous answers??

Billie would wear her most worn-out dress - clean, but still worn-out, and completely not the kind of dress that's worn on a 'night out'. And her boots. Not just because she only has a few dresses (and scrubbing the mud out of them kind of wears them out) (and they're a bit darned around the hem and knees) but because she refuses to be the girl she once was. Because that life let her down and now she refuses to go with anything but the new life she built for herself + her sisters.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind? 

This is obviously a very important question, and I'm ashamed of myself for not having thought of it before.


One pair of scuffed leather boots; good-quality, but well-worn.

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had? 

Billie has a bony old horse. His name is Old Bill. Her sisters thought that was hilarious, but they're smart enough not to call her Bill. (She doesn't like it. Or she wouldn't like it... no one's actually dared do it, yet.) Unfortunately - although Billie could really use Old Bill for plowing the vegetable patch or for dragging logs - Josie has claimed him.

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened? 

She resents her father. Because he chose the path that benefited himself and threw his daughters to the wolves.

I know... another terrible parent, when YA's full of them already. I'm sorry. I'll try to write some nice ones too.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry? 

They have a cellar that Billie dug, and it usually has whatever game Josie's caught recently + vegetables from the garden. There would be leftovers from the last meal, in a bowl wrapped in a damp cloth, except they don't usually leave leftovers.


I hope you enjoyed that journey into my WIP! It's late, I know - August is almost over - but I've been enjoying other people's BP posts so much that I felt I had to do one. Plus I've been half-promising to give you a few more details about Three Sisters since, I don't know, April?

So. That's Billie! Do you think she sounds addicted to power?? Do you sympathise with the over-protective big sister or the younger ones who just want to have their own lives? What do you think of the Beast?

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Quick survey || Jem vs. technology

On my last post, Ivie made it known to me that my sidebar isn't showing up right.

[If you can see a big white space on the left, that's where the sidebar's supposed to be.]

When I looked into it, I found that, for me, Firefox worked fine, while Chrome and IE didn't. I also discovered that the sidebar was not gone, but was off-screen: if I zoomed waaay out, it's still there (and it's pushing the footer down too far). Like so:

I spent such a long time going through forums, which said mostly that the probable cause is A) copying content from Word or somewhere else, which brought incompatible formatting with it, or B) an unclosed <div> somewhere.

Then I spent sUCH. A LONG. TIME. going through all my posts. (I'm just glad I don't have more, which is not something I usually say.) And while I found (and ruthlessly ironed out) some frankly disgusting HTML,

I can't find the problem.

So I need a favour.

Could you please write and tell me:
1. What browser are you using?
2. Can you see the sidebar?
3. If not, do you have any idea when you last saw it?

I would really appreciate it. Your comment doesn't have to be long or flowery. I typically worry that my comments will seem terse if they're too short, but if you write even just write one-word answers, I will be very grateful for the information.

Thank you for aiding me in the fight against the technology. I know with your assistance I can crush its rebellion.

...thank you, Strax. I'll keep your advice in mind. 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

ideas from Pinterest || theme: EXPLOSIONS

My "ideas from Pinterest" posts have been pretty fun to write. So far there's been:

"Snarky dialogue" is the obvious next step. I'll think about it.

But today - as promised - it's explosions. Coupled with a fair bit of snark.

And in the vein of this theme, let us start with Tony Snark + explosions.

I'm sorry, did I typo and write Tony Snark??
That was obviously an accident

"Technically, it wasn't on fire."
"Of COURSE it wasn't on fire! You completely blew it up!"

"It's only on fire a little bit. You can still use it."

"I said finesse. Do you happen to know the definition of finesse?"

"I'm looking for a place to crash. Mine blew up."

"Do you even know how to drive this thing?"
"Normally I'd lie and say yes, but considering the fact that I almost flew us into that building, I'm going to assume you know the answer."

"Some gifts are better left unopened. I'm particularly referring to the ones that explode."

"The phrase 'Ignore it and it will go away' does not apply to being chased by a dozen cop cars. Trust me on this one."

"I don't go looking for trouble. I just enjoy befriending it."

"...and then I set the fire."
"No fires."
"But my plan is awesome."
[Third character:]"Since when have we accepted pyromaniacs onto this team?"

"Give me one good reason why I should buy you a cart full of fireworks."

"We can't have a crisis! My schedule is already full."

"In my defense, I was left unsupervised."

"So what're you up to?"
"Nothin' dangerous, if that's what you're asking."
"...Our definitions of dangerous must be sliiightly different."

"The results of an explosion are often very curious."

"Small fire! I said to set a small fire! This is not small!"

"Burning a bridge takes too long. I prefer explosives."

For some reason I can NOT find a gif which includes the explosion??
Which is super annoying because I need it for my life.


Okay, so not all of these were specifically about explosions? but you can make them about explosions. And that's all that matters, really.

Do you write about explosions? Do you have suggestions for themes for my next Pinterest ideas posts? Do you write posts at eleven at night? because I don't recommend it 

Talk to me about anything! including the fact that apparently Iron Man's arc reactor is triangular in this suit?? I did not know that.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Of Cookies and Books

And today we have... *drum roll*... a tag!

Actually, no. Today we have BOOKS. So stop groaning.

okay it's a book tag

Thanks to Julian at Saver of Memories for giving me this opportunity to rave about books! :)

Of Cookies and Books

...Hang on.

A quick word before we get to the books:

I have never eaten a cookie in my life.

OY - there's no need for rotten fruit!!

I'm an Aussie. We call them biscuits. (I believe in the USA 'biscuits' are what you call scones??) And for the same cultural reason I may be changing some of the biscuits. Because what even is a Dutch Snowball??

Yes. I could Google it. But I'm making a point here.

Chocolate Chip || a book that never gets old

Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine) and Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen).

I love the writing style, so - even though I've read them often enough that I know the endings (which are unlikely to have changed since last time) - I still enjoy rereading them. I always come across snippets of humour of dialogue that are worth it, too.

Dutch Snowballs Cornflake and Sultana Biscuits || a book that gave you an unexpected surprise

I don't know what Dutch Snowballs are, so I'm changing this one to Cornflake/Sultana Biscuits. Because you think they're choc-chip and then they're not and you get a mouthful of deceit and betrayal. And biscuits with cornflakes are always stale. I suppose this would be, specifically, an unpleasant surprise. Never mind.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Agatha Christie) certainly surprised me. That twist. I didn't actually realise that was even possible.

Also the ending of All Fall Down (Ally Carter). I didn't see that coming either. (Not the very end, which seemed a little ordinary considering what she'd been through, but the bit just before the end. That bit. If you've read it you know what I'm on about.)

It's really hard to talk about books with surprises without spoiling the surprises. Or else sounding really weird.Or both, which is my usual preference.

[I feel I must add here that, by definition, all surprises are unexpected??]

Molasses Jamdrops || a book with a character that gets in a sticky situation

(Jamdrops were the only biscuits I can think of that could be sticky. Not perfect, but here in Australia, we feed molasses to the cows, not put it in biscuits. [Syrup is used in cooking.])

The False Prince (Jennifer Neilsen) and the rest of the Ascendance Trilogy. Sage gets into more sticky situations than you'd think possible, as you'll know if you've read the books. If you haven't, wHY ARE YOU HERE. DEPART THIS INSTANT FOR YOUR LIBRARY.

(After leaving a comment, obviously.)

Oreo || a book dealing with the light and the darkness

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis) deals thematically with light and darkness, and with great success, I feel.

Jill Williamson's book By Darkness Hid also has to be mentioned... it definitely deals with light and darkness. ;P

Sugar Hundreds and Thousands Biscuits || a book with a sugary sweet villain

This is an Arnotts Hundreds and Thousands biscuit.
Image from Google.

Apparently I read all the wrong books, because no villains fitting that description come instantly to mind. Probably the closest would be Opal Koboi from the Artemis Fowl series (Eoin Colfer). She's not exactly "sugary sweet"... she's a psychotic pixie... but she has great one-liners/insults/comebacks.

Monster Shortbread || a book that confused your emotions

Shortbread confuses me because I'm supposed to like it (everyone else does, apparently) and I don't??

And when I first read "monster cookie", this was the only thing coming to mind -

(I have since checked Google. Your Monster biscuits. I like them. ANOTHER.)
(But why would they confuse your emotions??)

As for books: I recently read Go Set a Watchman and that confused my emotions, let me tell you. It twisted my feelings up and then sat on them. Without having the decency to untangle them afterwards. I have no idea what the ending was. (Confession: I'm waiting for my mother to read it so she can explain.)

Snickerdoodle || a book that made you laugh

Originally I thought 'snickerdoodle' would be one of the first biscuits to go. I mean, I'd never even heard of the thing! Buuut, I can't think of any other biscuits that make me laugh, and snickerdoodles do. Just by their name. So, snickerdoodle, you get to stay.

How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell; any of Odo Hirsch's books for kids (try Hazel Green or the Will Buster trilogy); the HIVE series by Mark Walden (warning: comes with character deaths).

Also The Red Book (Beck and Matt Stanton).

Probably best if you don't read this picture-book to young children, though.

Peanut Butter || a book with a nutty character

(I have had biscuits with peanuts [didn't like them much], but never a biscuit with peanut butter.)

The Artemis Fowl series (Eoin Colfer) - Opal Koboi is nutty, as is Mulch. Foaly's not entirely stable either (he's a centaur wearing a tin-foil hat, so...)

The Fixer (Jennifer Lynn Barnes) - Asher's a pretty odd character.

Anzac || a book set in Australia

Can you believe, I actually had to make this one up myself??

Operation Foxtrot Five. Independently published by Christian author from Western Australia, D.J. Stutley. Go read the series now. NOW. While it's unlikely you'll find them in your local library, you can buy ebooks directly for ONE. AUSTRALIAN. DOLLAR. Seriously, that's like 80c in America??

(I am not being paid to say this, by the way ;)

Another Australian author is Jackie French; she writes historical and Australian fiction. Her historical books for kids can be great. I recommend Tom Appleby Convict Boy, Soldier on the Hill, Diary of a Wombat (picture book, very funny) and The Shaggy Gully Times (picture book/'newspaper', full of editor's notes in ink, very funny).

And I tried - but couldn't manage - to fit in Tim Tams, because they're awesome. "Two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate." Do you have Tim Tams in the USA? (just checking)

Now you've read my ravings, here are the [original] questions: 
Chocolate chip - a book that never grows old
Dutch snowballs - a book that gave you an unexpected surprise
Molasses - a book with a character that gets into a sticky situation
Oreo - a book that deals with light and darkness
Sugar - a book with a sugary sweet villain
Monster - a book that confused your emotions
Snickerdoodle - a book that made you laugh
Peanut butter - a book with a nutty character

And I tag anyone who wants to do this. Normally I don't take the easy way out - I try to make it personal and tag even just one or two people - but honestly I've been working on this tag longer than it deserves?? and I don't know who's already done it. So. I would love to see anyone take this tag!

And. Since we're talking about books, I am also on Goodreads, and I ALWAYS want book recommendations. I also love knowing when other people I know adore my favourite books. (That sentence didn't make as much sense as it could have. Just go with it.) So feel free to connect with me on Goodreads! I'm very friendly! Truly! What, have you been talking to my sisters??

Have you read any of these books? Want to fangirl with me? Are you confused as to why Artemis Fowl doesn't have a bigger fandom?? (I tried to google images for the quotes? and there were none??) Have you ever read D.J. Stutley's books?? (we will be friends forever and I may suffocate you with my excitement) Am I missing out on great "cookies"? What biscuits would you recommend? Tell me all in the comments!

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A quick update for July!

I haven't commented on any of your lovely blogs for several days, and it's been almost a fortnight since I posted. My excuse is, of course, Camp NaNo. (Among other things. Such as study/family stuff/watching An Unexpected Journey with my brother.) The last few days have been rather stressful because I apparently don't know how to prioritise. Or focus. Not until things are looking quite dire, anyway.

But I did win.

And now I'm both really, really pleased, and quite a bit ashamed of myself. For the same reason:

Sliiight mid-month slump here.

What I'm pleased about:
I WROTE 3.4K IN ONE DAY. (My previous maximum was 1.8k.)

What I'm ashamed of:
Since I wrote 4.6k in the last two days... I could have written way more than 10k total. If I'd tried harder.

But I'm a Master Procrastinator and can't actually get anything done until riiight before the deadline?? [E.g. Tertiary study assessments. Due in two days. I'll have a look at that now I've finished Camp.]

I was actually concerned that I'd procrastinated too far:

BUT I spent a lot of time on the thirty-first and neglected real life and managed to pull my word count up to reach the goal, to the cheers of my super-encouraging cabinmates.

Me writing on July 31st. Obviously. 

So! How did Camp go for you? Or if you didn't participate this time around, how's your month been for writing? Tell me in the comments! 

Although I probably will be checking up on a heap of blogs now. And you've probably written about your month there. Never mind! Tell me in the comments anyway! ;)

Thursday, 20 July 2017

ideas from Pinterest || [hopefully] tragic dialogue!

Today I've got a [brief] collection of dialogue snippets from Pinterest. I've tried to form a theme, but I'm not terribly good with themes, so here they are: potentially/kind-of tragic dialogue snippets.

Of course, you could rebel and use these in an unexpected way, thereby making them completely-not-at-all-heartwrenching. E.g. if your character addressed the first one to a pizza. Or the second one. Or any of them, really.

"I've lost count of the promises I've broken for you."

"No. Not you. Anyone but you."

"This is highly irregular. They shouldn't have feelings."

"You here to finish me off, sweetheart?"

"Daddy, are we the bad guys?"

"You always smile like you're about to cry."

"The best way to keep a prisoner from escaping it to make sure he never knows he's in prison."
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, apparently? No idea who he was, though!

"We've been through a lot together, and most of it was your fault."

"Sometimes memories are the worst form of torture."

"You're not going to lose me, okay? I won't leave y-"

"It hurt once, but I don't feel it any more."

"Freedom doesn't feel like I thought it would."

"If anyone could have saved me it would have been you."

"I'm not sure when I knew you'd never forgive me."


If these prompts are depressing, apply them all to food in some way!! don't worry! I promise that next time, my theme will be something along the lines of "EXPLOSIONS!!"


"Battle the monsters in your closet and craft a beautiful poem from their remains."    <-- a little motivation from the CampNaNo emails. Because it's late and I'm tired and can't think of a good way to sign off. (that seems to be the standard situation whenever I'm blogging??)

Friday, 14 July 2017

#VoicesofYA tag

Jane at Maiden of the Misty Mountains has tagged me for the #VoicesofYA tag! Which is awesome, because I'd been watching it go around the blogosphere and sort of hoping someone would pick me. Thanks, Jane! ;)

What draws you to YA?
The fact that the characters are the same age as me? Roughly? Also, I feel like YA has more emotion or is more raw or interesting or something.

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?
In life, I love structure and knowing what to expect.

In writing, I once wrote a 20-page outline (okay, they were A5 sheets, but I was like thirteen) that had dissolved into a semi-first-draft, complete with dialogue, by the end. Annnd... that was as much work as the story got. Writing that had completely drained my need to write the story. (Which, considering the quality of the 'plot' and the unoriginal [read "copy-cat"] characters, was a good thing.)

Still, I WANT to plot, but I haven't found any methods that work?? Pantsing really grates on my structure-loving self and I panic whenever I try to think ahead?? Please help?!

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?
I was thirteen when I started my first 'novel'. (I intended to to finish it, really I did... Instead it's the first in my folder of WIPs to finish when I figure out how to make them less flat and cliche.) (shh, don't tell them I said that; my children believe me when I tell them I love them all equally) So that was... over half a decade ago.

Now, I hope my stories are a bit better, but I'd still say I'm just starting my writing journey. I've started taking writing more seriously (I'm even trying to finish a first draft!...) but I'm still nowhere near publication or letting anyone else read my [partial] drafts. Just... no. For your own sake.

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?
I don't drink coffee, I'm still trying to train myself to write while listening to music, and I don't snack while writing. (Writer Police: hi we're here to take away your license)

There are certain things that I need to write, though. I need to be in my room, at my desk, and no one else can be in the room. I'm just really fussy, I guess?? which isn't good if I'm away from home and need to work on my projects.

Good thing I don't leave my room much, right??

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer, (OTHER THAN "don't give up"), what would it be?
Um... Well, something I wish I heard more is that my first draft will be junk and that's okay. I get really stressed about it. But everyone starts with a first draft, and no published author will let you read it. So my advice would be to not worry about the quality of your first draft; just finish it, and then you can shape and polish it.

What book still has you reeling from its plot twist?
Umm. I can hardly remember ANY significant plot twists. I don't know if that's because I read boring books, I just have a terrible memory, or I'm so smart nothing surprises me (obviously this is the reason).

However I probably should mention Jennifer Lynn Barnes' The Fixer - I did not see that twist about her parents.

What books are you most anticipating for this year?
I kind of... don't have a clue what's coming out this year?? I have no system for finding new books. (Except following blogs that talk about TBRs crushing them.) The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre came out this year, though, and I was waiting for that one!

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?

Help. I have no idea. (it's late + I'm unwell [of course I'm unwell it's week 2 of Camp hahaha]) Plus I'm always afraid of questions that say "MOST" or "FAVOURITE" or any other absolute sort of word. Because I know that once I answer the question I'll think of five other things that are better. (That's assuming I managed to answer the question at all and don't just freeze up. In this case, I just froze up. Whoops. I'll probably remember some books in time for answering comments.)

What is your all-time favourite quote from YA?
I read too fast to collect quotes. Actually, I'm sure I read some good ones - in The Fixer? The Lost Girl of Astor Street? The Wrath and the Dawn? SOMETHING I read recently, anyway. But I have no idea what it was.

Maybe I should read slower?

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaptation?
My first instinct is to say The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen. But when I think about it, that would probably be quite violent?? (THIS IS IN NO WAY AN EXCUSE FOR YOU TO NOT READ THE BOOK. It's not graphic, I promise. [Although the third book in the trilogy... I honestly have no idea how he manages to keep going.])

So instead I'd like the Ranger's Apprentice series. But not as a movie, unless they commit to doing one for each book. [None of that rot like "here's one movie of books 1-4 in a random order :) and Halt looks notHING LIKE IN THE BOOKS :) enjoy it :) :) :)"] Maybe a TV series would be a better option??

And I'm tagging two of my Camp cabin-mates, who started their own blogs less than a month ago! They've been part of a young writers' community, The Order of the Pen, for a long time (they were the ones who created it, too), so they should have some great writing advice coming up on their blogs! And other stuff, of course (no pressure, guys xD) I'm looking forward to seeing them answer these questions!

Sarah at Pen of a Ready Writer
Julian at Saver of Memories

You should definitely go check out their blogs. They're just starting, but they're going to be awesome :) *flaps hands at you*

Want to talk about books? writing techniques? random things? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Monday, 10 July 2017

Beautiful People #26 (my first time participating!)

Me: I should do a Beautiful People link-up post! talk about my characters to all the people who read my blog because apparently they have nothing better to do!
Me: *waits for post that isn't about family because my characters are all orphans*
Me: hooray new questions!
Beautiful People: today we're talking about you writers.
Me: ...
Me: close enough.

1. How do you decide which project to work on?

I shuffle through my folders and see which story captures my interest.
This may be the reason for the answer to Q2.

2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Forever, apparently. At least - if we're talking novels - I haven't finished any yet. THIS WIP WILL BE THE ONE. (or not.)

3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

Sit at my desk, open laptop, stare at wall, rearrange desk so everything is lined up and at right angles, stare at wall, listen to Owl City, stare at wall, switch to Pinterest tab, don't write.

4. What time of day do you write best?

I would love to be a morning writer. Not early morning, but after breakfast. I could get my writing done, then move on to other important things. Like Life (let's just pretend I have one).

Instead, I procrastinate and then have to stay up until eleven at night (that's REEEALLY LATE, okay guys??) and get my writing done then.

5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

I don't think I've been writing long/intensely enough to have developed a style. I do love the dry, understated humour of some classic children's books... but I don't think I have that in my writing.

6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?


7. What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

Psychology assessments for university (I'm so glad I didn't continue that course)

Not to seem like a bad writer or anything, but if it's hard I kind of - leave? work on something else? or more likely forget writing altogether.

8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

I have a heap of projects I started and then abandoned, with the intention of finishing them one day... that might count?

There was one I started and really loved the idea of, but it required more knowledge than I had about police procedure + hospital procedure + how do comas work? + how does amnesia work?? (If anyone has information about any of these, please comment and tell me!! It's set in Australia, though, so telling me about your sheriffs and PDs will be fascinating but unfortunately unhelpful.) It isn't exactly that I didn't feel ready; I just couldn't 'pants' my way through it, during NaNo, when important points rested on things I didn't know. (E.g. If a cop's girlfriend is under investigation for multiple murders, he's probably put on some temporary leave-thing, right?? But he had to be working on her case [up until she murdered his sister] because #plot more like #noplot. And what's the procedure for holding an amnesiac murder suspect in hospital?? Would they believe she has amnesia?? How severe can amnesia get, anyway, and what's that like??)

9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I didn't make a list of goals (maybe I should, next year? I might actually get something done??) But participating in April and July's Camps was certainly good... I think I'd like to finish the draft of Three Sisters (my WIP for both Camps) this year? Hopefully it will be going a lot better after July (and November, if necessary).

10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

[I apologise for the grammar error. It wasn't me.]

So that's me + a few details of my writing life + my first time participating in the Beautiful People link-up! Want to talk about anything? Do we share any writing habits? (I hope not, for your sake.) Do you have some helpful advice or some information about comas or amnesia??

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Leibster Blog Award

A while back (I'm a Master Procrastinator), Gray at Writing is Life nominated me for the Leibster Blog Award.

 Now I had to look this up, because I'm still pretty new to blogging and all the traditions etc. But apparently the Liebster Award is "for new blogs and/or those with fewer than 200 followers, and [is] meant to motivate newcomers to the blogging community". "Liebster" means something along the lines of sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome - it's German. (That link also talks a lot about what the Liebster Award is for and what you do with it.)

The Liebster Award is to share the blogging love - you're trying to get your readers to check out newer/lesser-known (but awesome) bloggers. When 'nominated', you can display some sort of award icon if you like. Write a post which -
    a) thanks [and talking up the blog of] the person who nominated you;
    b) answers any questions they asked you (and includes new ones for the next bloggers to answer); and
    c) nominates some relatively unknown blogs you think deserve more notice. (Don't forget to comment on their blogs and tell them!)

'kay. So. Gray is... awesome! She was the force behind the beginning of the #RebelliousWriting movement. She wrote a rant about how writers have to be readers to be good at their craft. She's sweet and replies really quickly to comments on her blog. She has an amazing singing voice, too, which I was fortunate enough to hear in a Q&A vlog. (Sorry, Gray, but it's true xD) If you haven't checked out Gray's blog - or joined the #RebelliousWriting movement (which is getting its own website soon?) - then you should definitely go have a look! (And then come back, obviously...)

*flaps at you*

And Gray asked me eleven fascinating questions!

--{1. What is your biggest pet peeve?}--

(I apologise for any trauma that may have been suffered as a result of these images; however, I refuse to take any responsibility.)

--{2. What is one of your favourite things?}--
My laptop? I mean, for a long time I didn't have much access to the amazing (and also really frightening) thing called 'the internet' unless I was using it for school. I am pleased that I no longer have to keep all my secret stories stuff on a USB because #littlesisters.

--{3. Do you have a song stuck in your head? If so, which one?}--
At the time Gray tagged me, Fireflies and Vanilla Twilight.

Now, Fireflies, Vanilla Twilight, Fuzzy Blue Lights, The Saltwater Room, Dental Care (so punny!), On the Wing, and My Everything. I refuse to apologise: I have a lot of catching up to do.

(Anyway, I only know the lyrics to Fireflies [and it's ANNOYING when I have one of the others stuck in my head and I can't sing along]. I'm not obsessed. *coughs*)

--{4. What is your favourite book from this week?}--
I'd like to say Legend by Marie Lu or The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine. But I read them last week.

The only book I've actually read in the last seven days is How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell. (I preferred How to Train Your Dragon. And I haven't seen the movies.)

--{5. What is your favourite movie from this week?}--
Kung Fu Panda 2. It's also the only movie I've watched this week. (It's still really funny, though.)

But my brother borrowed my copy of The Hobbit [book], and now he's on The Lord of the Rings (even though he normally reads non-fiction), so I'm hoping I can watch the Hobbit trilogy with him! Sometime! Not sure when! Gotta love tertiary study!

 --{6. Do you have a favourite YouTuber? If so, who?}--
I'm actually not sure as to the definition of YouTuber, but I love listening to Peter Hollens, Owl City and the Piano Guys; I also love Studio C.

--{7. White, milk, or dark chocolate?}--

White chocolate is not chocolate. I don't care if it's with raspberries in a cheesecake. It isn't chocolate. And dark chocolate is 'adult chocolate'. At least in my experience, kids don't like it. (I am not an adult. I am a kid.)

...But of course, if someone's handing out white or dark chocolate, will I say no? Of course not. (If for no other reason, then because if I do, my siblings will have had more treats than me. I know. I am pettiness personified.)

--{8. What is your favourite word?}--
My- WHAT? of all the words in the world, I have to pick one?? Based on what??

--{9. Do you have a secret talent?}--
I can wiggle my ears. And raise either eyebrow independently of the other. These talents are actually quite useful on quests.

--{10. Who is the first person that comes to mind when you think "weird"?}--

Is that weird?

*doesn't answer my own question*

--{11. Would you rather be super famous or rich and unknown? Why?}--
Rich and unknown. That way I could help people who needed it, without the gossip magazines questioning my motives and saying dirty things about me in general.

Also, if I was super famous, I would have to talk to hoards of people. PEOPLE. (Introvert talking here...)
ugh people
I mean they can be great but sometimes they get a bit much irl.
especially in large bunches

Now there are a heap of amazing bloggers out there, floating in the blogosphere, waiting for people to realize their amazingness...

But I'm not much of an explorer. I like my comfortable circles.
And even when I do find a new blog, I tend to follow + read + basically stalk + not comment. Which means the blogger doesn't actually know me. So having me rave about them would feel weird.

Still, here are some fairly new blogs that you should all go check out (if you haven't already) because they're pretty awesome: 

The Florid Sword: Faith started blogging around the same time I did - March this year - but she posts more consistently than me, so her blog feels more 'developed'. ;) She blogs about writing and faith in the real world and music. (and musicals. she'd love to talk to you about Hamilton.)

a surge of thunder: Andrea's first post was in February this year. She writes about writing and raves about reading, which is of course awesome, because those are VERY IMPORTANT topics.

Audrey Caylin: Audrey started blogging in October last year. She writes encouraging posts about life and posts about writing (I'm starting to see a pattern here??) And she just had a blog makeover, which looks amazing.

So, girls, I'm passing the Leibster Blog Award to you.
Here are a few blog-related questions I'd love to see you three answer! 
1. Why did you begin blogging?
2. What blogs inspired yours when you were starting out?
3. What's your blog's 'theme'? (whether topics, visuals, aesthetics, sense of humour...)
4. What fictional character would be your arch-nemesis? (HAHAHA NO I NEVER PROMISED A THEME TO THESE QUESTIONS, YOU MUST BE MISTAKEN)

And of course I'd love to see anyone else answer these questions in the comments!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

ideas from Pinterest - for superhero stories!

I didn't mention in my Writer Stag post, but I've recently started writing superhero stories as well as fairy tales and contemporary runaways. ('Superhero' is totally a genre, 'kay??)

So here is the superhero/villain-themed next installment (first post here) of 'ideas from Pinterest'. I have scoured that soul-sucking site for months, gathering the required information/ideas for this semi-series of posts... do not waste my labours.

(does anyone here actually write superhero stories?)

Edit: As Lisa points out in the comments, mixed-gender roommates would be very non-standard. If you want the dating twist - which is not required, it might be nice to have a story without romance - you could have a mixed-gender student share house.

--{well I'm not going to walk there}--
"You can ALL fly and I'm the only one who can't. Can you not argue about who's going to carry me while I'm standing right here??"

--{ rates}--
"You superhero types are constantly driving my insurance rates up with your destruction. I wouldn't complain [much] if you were at least fighting supervillains, but you're usually just fighting each other!"
(definitely the [disguised] superhero's new landlady!)

--{is it possible you had a pre-existing condition?}--
"I volunteered for a super-soldier program and I'm the only one that's shown any abilities in response to the drugs. Now you're trying to tell me I was in the placebo group??"

--{should have picked someone else}--
"You took me hostage for your bank robbery but you should probably have picked aaanyone else. *telekinetically trolls them until they turn themselves in to the police*"

--{terrible at this secret identity thing}--
"Once we caught you climbing in the window of our mutual office?? No, sure, that's a compleeetely plausible reason. If anyone asks, we'll tell them you were here and working hard. With your dorky glasses and crazy broad shoulders and mysterious scrapes and bruises, of course you're just a regular office worker! *coughs*"

--{behind-the-scenes crew, couldn't have done it without you}--
"You're a superhero, which is awesome, but as your best friend that leaves me with a lot of responsibilities. Doing your homework. Forging sick notes from your parents. Fetching bundles of clothes from behind bins in alleys. Carrying a spare costume everywhere. Oh, and the washing. Being your best friend is actually a lot of work?? and I hope you appreciate that."

--{best friends?}--
"No, I don't want a chocolate, I just watched you take them from that girl scout - no, I'm not mad you didn't come to my birthday party, I'm perfectly aware you were in jail, I put you there - yes, I received your gift, and returned it to the museum - that's someone else's coffee, I don't want it and just stOP ACTING LIKE WE'RE BEST BUDDIES OKAY"

--{when your power is public knowledge}--
"I was born with the facial birthmark signifying superpowers and I have to put up with supervillains harrassing me, I shouldn't have to- no, no autographs - you don't approve of superheroes? too bad, lady - I will not demonstrate anything in the shopping centre - all I wanted was eggs would you people leave me alone."

--{maybe would have preferred not to know?}--
"Recently I've gained the ability to tell when someone is lying. You've been my best friend from childhood, but everything you're saying to me - even your name - is a lie. What's up with that??"

--{not the intended outcome}--
"You told me there would be no side effects."

>--{danger levels}--
"I can measure how dangerous people are just by looking at them - regular kid is 1, trained man with an assault rifle would be about 7. You're the new kid at school and you don't look like much but you're a 10??"

--{first time getting shot}--
"Exactly how and when did you find out you're bulletproof?"

--{family dinners}--
"Family dinner night again, and Mum's posted bail (our latest showdown got you arrested, but to be fair, you'd just melted a museum) so we can have - and I quote - 'a civil, sisterly conversation, at the table instead of flying around dressed in spandex'."

Plus a random slightly relevant?? driblet from my recent life:
I was playing chess (circular chess, actually, with three people) and my brother said he should have archers?? So I replaced my bishops with Hawkeye tokens?? Sadly I'm the only one in my family who knows that kind of stuff... so no one said I see what you did there. :( (because there are two Hawkeyes? and the second is Kate Bishop?)

Which of these was your favourite? Do you write superhero stories? Do you want to talk about a completely random thing?? (or maybe circular chess?) (and SOMEONE please tell me you see what I did there ;)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Blog tour for teen author Emily Mundell's debut novel!!

I'm super-excited, because today, I'm participating in a blog tour for a teen writer's new book!

Emily Mundell has written a fantasy novel called The Sorceress and the Squid. Now today is the third day of the blog tour, so you've maybe seen all the cover and synopsis and stuff already? Yes? No? ...just in case you haven't, I shall put it all right here!

That's right, I have ALL THE THINGS, here for your convenience!!

Synopsis! And cover!
In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae, and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes pity on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?


Author bio! With picture!
Emily Mundell is a 19 year old author, artist, horsewoman and lover of the wonders of the wide world. She hails from the Great White North of Canada and has spent her life growing up in the heart of rural Alberta in a close-knit farming community - though she has often entertained fantasies of inhabiting the Shire.

Writing is her true passion – though horses and art take a close second. With fantasy as her primary genre, Emily has been writing stories since the tender age of eight when she finished her first “book.” She is currently working to complete her Creative Writing Certificate through the University of Calgary. An avid bookworm, true country-mouse, and unconventional tree-climber, Emily can usually be found on a horse, working on one of her half-dozen projects, chasing a loose cow, or being swept off her feet by the man she calls her own personal “hobbit.”

Emily's social media links!

Links where you can buy the book and/or read reviews!
Amazon | CreateSpace eStore |Goodreads

(these ones are really important! click them! click them!!)

I also have two special things you'll only get on this blog!!

#1: My review
(Okay, so it's also on Goodreads...)

[I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Because seriously - even though I haven't written a review since I was last forced to in high school - maybe I should do more? because free books. *can't believe I didn't know this was a thing*]

The book: You know how e-books - particularly indie published e-books - are filled with formatting errors often enough that you now cringe at the thought of reading one? No? It's just me? (Fine.) But this book, THIS BOOK DID NOT. Words were not split across lines. There were no glaring typos. Formatting was consistent. Perhaps those are rather petty things to judge a book by, but you don't know what it means for my opinion of a book. I began The Sorceress and the Squid expecting the usual e-book problems, and it didn't have them.

The characters: Estrella, a sorceress, and Jalen, the warrior she turns into a squid, alternate POV. I'm not going to try to describe them for you; I'm going to give you quotes.

"It was a lovely morning for war-mongering." (First line. I mean, this is obviously a fascinating narrator voice.)
Second page: "Her attempt to stick her nose beyond the pages of her books was going very poorly."

I identify so much with the second quote... and it's even better because it comes so soon after the first one.

"Jalen grimaced - if a squid could grimace -"
"He tried to shrug, but realized quickly that was beyond his squid abilities."
"He made a low whistling noise, or tried to. It ended up being sort of a bubbly sound. Apparently squids couldn’t whistle."

I just love the whole frustrated-warrior-is-now-a-talking-squid thing. xD
The plot: I expected the plot would be simply a quest to find the Wizard, and I was concerned that the strain of holding that up for an entire novel would bring out the quest cliches. I was wrong, for two reasons:
1. Estrella complained enough about carrying the jar (fairly, I think, as it would have been terribly awkward) that the quest-journey flew past. Characters bickering and being snarky = yasss.
2. The journey ended; they got to the Wizard's island; and I thought, oh well, it's been a nice read - not terribly complex, but nice.  And then- >>betrayal!<< (I can't give any more details because spoilers.) And I realised I was only half-way through. In the second half there's battles and new friends and tragedy and hope and magical duels and awesome stuff. (That's so vague. How do people even write good reviews without putting spoilers through the whole thing??)

The ending felt both a bit rushed, and satisfyingly true:

 - I thought some some details could have been emphasised more - I took a while to figure out that >>Estrella was going to train Jalen<<, for example. And I thought it could have been more clearly stated that >>Jalen could do magic now too<<, although I suppose the circumstances made it obvious. Emotionally, I felt like Estrella and Jalen weren't quite ready to finish? She was still struggling, and he'd had a whole new element added to his character.

 - Honestly, though, I think the ending for Estrella would have felt faked if that (spoilers!) had been somehow fixed? And it's so sweet that he's sticking around and helping her. (That last scene in the rain... adorable! *mushy heart eyes*)

The setting: I WANT ESTRELLA'S HOUSE, OKAY? It's on the top of a mountain, on the other side of a slightly magic forest, and it's a one-room building with lots of clutter and cupboards and a wall and a half of bookshelves. I could see it... and I'm terrible at picturing setting. Other settings include a boat and a semi-magic island - which were cool - and a battlefield, which I got a little confused over. But I typically get confused about setting, so...

Content: Magic and some battle scenes (nothing too graphic).

Adored: Estrella, Jalen, Estrella + Jalen, Estrella's house, her grumbling about carrying Jalen in the jar, Jalen being alternately "yep I'm a talking squid!!" and "nope squids don't talk haha that's ridiculous why would I talk??", the brief appearance of a magic carpet, the hopeless goblin gang, and the Gollum-like creature. Also the ending was sweet/bittersweet.

Complaints: There was a bit about handholding that I thought could have been drawn out into more of a plot point. ...Okay, maybe I mostly wanted them to hold hands a bit more... but it still could have been a great plot point! I was picturing them >>standing on a hill holding hands and fighting the battle with their free hands<< , and I was a bit disappointed that never happened... ;)

Mostly, though, this book was at times sweet, snarky, heart-wrenching, and funny. (I mean, when they were waylaid by goblins, Estrella zapped their bottoms.) Four out of five squids spellbooks.

#2: A character interview with sorceress Estrella! 
(I took quite a risk with this... she mentioned some quite gruesome things she's done to humans...)

JEM: Today I have a special guest: Estrella the sorceress! And before I go any further, I should probably mention – Estrella, I look human, but that’s because my other form struggles with typing. So... we’re good? I’ve heard you’re not too fond of humans... 

ESTRELLA: Recently I've become a little more open-minded, though I am only particularly fond of one human. I will take your word for it, though I'd be interested in seeing your other form when this questioning is all said and done.
I too look like a human, despite my magical abilities. I can forgive this in you as well.

JEM: Now, you live in the kingdom of Perth, on a mountain. In a cluttered little house with a wall and a half of bookshelves. If that’s not awesome I don’t know what is. Do you leave your home much? 

ESTRELLA: I didn't used to hardly ever – except to pay the Wizard a visit of course. I had few friends and still do. Honestly, who needs them when you have books? I get out a little more these days, which is a bit ironic but that's another matter...

JEM: Books are better than the real world, I agree! How long have you lived here? 

ESTRELLA: I'm glad we see eye-to-eye. I have lived on this mountain 102 years, before that I trained with the Wizard on his island.

JEM: Do you see other people – Fae, I should say – often? 

ESTRELLA: Occasionally, when they need me. I'm known as a bit of a healer around these parts and the Fae often come to me for spells or potions.

JEM: Who are your closest friends? 

ESTRELLA: Certainly I have been friends with the sailors, Aryn, Jonnan and Dariela the longest. After them, Mila the tree-spirit and Kyra the wood-nymph. I believe that our shared experience brings Jalen and I closer than anyone though.

JEM: That's to be expected. *grins* I'm sure Jalen, for one, will never forget that experience. How do you spend your time? 

ESTRELLA: He'd better not forget! I went through a lot of trouble for him. I spend a lot of time reading, naturally. There are many days up in the mountains where nothing exciting really happens. I also practice my magic – to a level of perfectionism, perhaps. When I am good at something I tend to do it extensively, especially magic as it has always been the most stable and secure part of my life, a bit ironic I know. Nowadays I spend more time with people than I would normally have liked, but I am learning to enjoy that too.

JEM: You say you spend a lot of time reading – have you read all these books? What are they about? 

ESTRELLA: All my books? Heavens no. I am a collector and do so obsessively, but I do not always have time to read what I have found. I have read perhaps ¾ of my collection. Many of my books are books of spells which require, slow, careful and deliberate study as you read. I confess I have not gone through them all yet. Someday I will manage this.

JEM: Of course, spellbooks would need careful study – you wouldn't want to misread a spell.*coughs* But I'm sure you'll get through them someday – perhaps with your pupil! What spell do you use the most? 

ESTRELLA: Yes, bad things can happen when you misread or misquote a spell. Telekinetics is the most practical use for spells. There are plenty of times when I am in the thick of something and do not want to or cannot make the effort to grab a necessary item. It is especially great in battle. Telekinesis takes only the energy that you would use to lift the item physically, so if it is a regular item, perhaps the size of a book, then it is not hard at all. If I wanted to lift a boulder I could, but that would use an excessive amount of energy.

JEM: I have to ask... have you ever made yourself a cup of tea telekinetically so you didn't have to stop reading? 

ESTRELLA: Of course! I have done this several times. Unfortunately the mental energy it takes to make the tea ends up distracting me from my reading anyway, but at least I can stay seated and cozy in my chair.

JEM: It sounds like telekinesis is a regularly useful spell! What spell do you wish you had more excuses to use? 

ESTRELLA: *chuckles* Oh, there are so many of these. Some simply because they inspire amazement and require such skill. Some because they are fun. I did enjoy shooting electric currents at goblin bottoms on our quest. That was thoroughly satisfying. Also, telepathy. It is a strange phenomenon to be inside someone else's head and I do not always like it, but it is also very interesting and there are many times I wish I could understand them better. I do not use this spell on principle, I do not believe it right to poke around in the minds of others.

JEM: That's good of you. I never even thought to be concerned about what you might be doing to me right now... What’s the worst thing – or spell – you could do to someone? 

ESTRELLA: Hmm, this is a difficult question. There are many I think that would be awful. I can inflict a curse of extreme itchiness that does not abate for even a moment, driving the victim mad with it. Using telekinesis I can do many horrible things like peeling flesh from bone...I have done terrible things with fire...things I would rather not discuss.

JEM: ...oookay. Sorry I asked. *moves a little further away* Where do you see yourself in five years? 

ESTRELLA: I do not see much change in my life, especially in the sum of five years, what a short time! Of course for a human that is a good many years and a lot can change. Once you have lived a century or more, five years becomes a short span. I suppose in five years I may have mastered new magic techniques and that will be a development. I may have trained my pupil quite a bit better as well.

JEM: And a fun question to finish! If you, hypothetically, got mad enough to turn someone into an animal, hypothetically, what animal would you pick? 

ESTRELLA: Seeing as I have already experimented with a squid (which is a thoroughly inconvenient animal to spellcast a person into, let me just say), I think I would go with something that can walk on its own legs. Perhaps a dog, I do like dogs. Or, better yet, a horse or something that could carry me instead of me carrying it! Yes, I think that would work well.

JEM: Something you don't have to carry does sound like a good plan. I see you're all sorted out for next time someone annoys you! 

ESTRELLA: Hopefully I won't have to go through that same situation ever again, but yes, I will try to do it more conveniently next time.

JEM: Thanks for the interview, Estrella! Best wishes for your pupil's training... and for your efforts to enjoy spending time with people. (Reading would be easier, but persevere!)

Now if you're following the blog tour, here's the schedule for the week:

(I am so helpful :D)

Blog Tour Schedule graphic.jpg

Have you read The Sorceress and the Squid? What did you think about my interview with Estrella? Want to talk about the book? Comment!

Estrella wanted to know what I look like in my non-human form.
Don't judge. We can't all secretly be dragons.