National Novel Writing Month 2017

Hi. Hello. Salutations my friends. Happy Halloween the 12th.

Yeah, I’m being weirder than usual. Sorry about that.

Today’s post is brought to you by a caffeine headache, my favorite hockey team failing at hockey, and staring at a project I haven’t touched in a year for an hour without typing a single word. These should help explain my scrambling.

Today I want to talk about NaNoWriMo. I did a post about it last year as well, but some things have changed. For starters, I know how hard it is to write a novel in a month now. (Confession: after I hit the 50k word limit last year I put the project away and haven’t touched it since. It’s still only 2/3 of the way done, almost a year later.)

Writing 50k words in 30 days sounds daunting on its own. Once you try it? You realize it’s beyond daunting. It’s horrible. And I’m not talking about the experience. I’m talking about “I actually wrote this? These are words that actually came from my brain and I thought they made sense? I thought this was good???”

My NaNo draft from last year needs a lot of work. And I’m not talking about just being unfinished. NaNoWriMo is tough, and requires a TON of editing after the fact, just like any other first draft.

So, I know what you’re thinking. “This is the part where she tells us she’s not doing it this year. It’s too hard to finish. She can’t do it. That’s what’s changed.”

Well, you would be WRONG.

I announced my NaNo novel two nights ago, and I’m nervous and unsure if I can really manage it this year, but I fully plan on participating. You can read all about the story I plan on writing here. (Also–be my friend! I need more writing buddies!)

Now I’ve probably confused you. “If she’s participating, what’s changed?”

I am SO glad you asked! I have a few things to say, along with some advice to go along with them.

  1. I am actually writing with a full outline this year. Yeah. I don’t recommend being me last year, only using a partial outline and hoping for the best. Really, it’s not smart. If you don’t like outlines, hey more power to you. I’ve been bitten in the butt too many times without one. I now require one before starting to write. But please, if you’re going to outline (and I recommend it) use a good one. Detail it. Have a plan. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you sit down to write your 1,300 words for the day.
  2. I will be working around a full schedule. Unlike last year, when I was mostly working around school, I’ll be doing Actual Adult Things in November (but also school). Between major papers, presenting at a conference, and other important obligations, I’m getting a taste of what a deadline looks like with a busy life. Which, this will hopefully be what my life looks like after college. So, I’m looking forward to working like this. Nervous, but it’s practice for the real world, so looking forward to it.
  3. I’m working in my comfort zone. Last year I tackled a multi-POV contemporary suspense (is that a thing? I’m saying it’s a thing). I’ve worked in dual POV before, but never more than that. My novel last year alternated between SIX points of view. Not to mention I’d never so much as touched a suspense plot before. This year I’m working with one point of view, in a genre I’ve worked with before. I’m always one for pushing the comfort zone and making yourself into a better writer, but when you’re hitting so many words in so little time, sticking to your comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing. If you think you can handle it, then absolutely push your limits. But don’t push so far that you end up leaving the project in a folder for a year, not because you don’t love the idea, but because it’s just so bad and pushing yourself caused that.

Honestly, I love the idea of giving my inner editor time to rest. She is so overworked. Giving her this project off is something I am very much looking forward to doing.

If you want information about National Novel Writing Month go to their website! I hope to see all of you in my writing buddies list very soon.

Enjoy the rest of your Halloween the 12th!

Kailey

Advertisements

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

Happy new year!! A couple of days late, but the thought is still there. I hope everyone had a safe and happy new year. Since it’s only been two days, I don’t have much to say as far updates. I’ve gotten a little farther in outlining one of my stories? That’s about it. So, let’s get down to talking about books!

Alright so the title is a little bit misleading. Maybe these aren’t the “most” anticpated books of 2017. And I guess this isn’t an “official” list. But for my first post of the new year, I thought I’d share a few books that I’m looking forward to being released this year. So, without further ado, here’s my top ten books as of today that I’m looking forward to coming out this year:

  1. Windwitch by Susan Dennard. The sequel to Truthwitch, one of my top five favorite books of all time (I’m not exaggerating)(when I read this I devoured it)(I told the author and she gave me a hug). I’m looking forward to the continued adventures of Safi and Iseult, plus all of the other beloved characters that sucked me into their world last summer. I know how hard the author worked on this (all authors work hard but if you follow her you’ll know she worked herself into creative exhaustion for this novel). I can’t wait to see how that pays off. Take me back to the world of the Witchlands! Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: January 10th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  2. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody. Carnivals, and illusions, and murder, oh my! This debut author caught my eye back when I was applying to Pitch Wars. She has woven a tale of murder and romance all set in a travelling circus that has me drooling in anticipation. And her novel aesthetics? Swoon. Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: July 25th. Putchase: Amazon B&N
  3. Bad Blood by Demitria Lunetta. Yet another author I found through Pitch Wars. While working on revising I got to talk to Demitria a bit and she was kind enough to critique my query letter. The description of this particular book grabbed my attention when I was researching her and I’m excited and intrigued to see if it lives up to my expectations (here’s a hint: it will). A bit of mystery? That takes place in Scotland? Sign me up! Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: March 14th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  4. 27 Hours by Tristina Wright. LGBTQIA+ main characters? Deaf main character? Themes of friendship and romance and a story that is positively bursting with conflict? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes PLEASE!! This is a story I stumbled upon accidentally but that I quickly became excited to read. One of my goals for the year was to read more diverse books, and with these characters, this book may just top that list. Genre: YA Sci-Fi. Release Date: October 3rd. Purchase: Amazon
  5. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. If you’re like me, you love love love all things Shadowhunters (well, maybe not the tv show as much)(I’ve only seen a few episodes though. Still going to give it a chance). The Shadowhunters world is one of my favorites. Cassandra Clare is my favorite author. This next installment in the Dark Artifices series is highly anticipated, not just by me, but by all of those who love the characters and the stories, new and old. The continued conflict with the faeries and forbidden romance will make for another late night reading adventure that I cannot wait for. Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal Fantasy. Release Date: May 23rd. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  6. Once and for All by Sarah Dessen. So, Sarah Dessen is the reason I learned to love reading. She’s the reason I decided I want to be a writer. I’ve read everything she’s ever written, and I actually screamed aloud when she announced this book. The classic romance and lessons in learning to love and grow as people call to me with her books. I may or may not have a countdown set for it. If you like teenage romance and lessons in growing up, pick this up. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: June 6th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  7. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas. If you know me at all, you know that SJM is one of my biggest writing influences. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I want to be her when I grow up (no 21 is not grown up shhhh). Her work ethic and writing style leaves me in awe. The worlds she creates and the characters she imagines are close to my heart. I have a particular (very deep) love for Feyre and her sisters (both blood and not blood)(Amren and Mor are killer don’t you dare fight me on this), and I have been waiting on the edge of my seat for ACOWAR since last year when A Court of Mist and Fury came out. (I’m serious. I bought ACOMAF the day it came out and finished it that night. Then I turned to my mom and said I want the next book). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this comes out the day finals finish at my school (okay maybe it is but shh don’t ruin this for me). Reward for studying maybe? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: May 2nd. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  8. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. Remember that book from earlier with the queer characters? Remember my excitement? You don’t? WELL GUESS WHAT THIS BOOK HAS LGBTQIA+ REPRESENTATION TOO! I AM VERY EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK TOO! (How about now? Remember that energy yet? Thought so.) But, in addition to this beautiful thing called representation, it deals with very serious issues such as tragic death and mental illness. Mental illness especially is something I think needs more visibility in YA. It’s an issue close to my own heart and I want to see how it’s laid out here. Plus, I am a sucker for a love story gone wrong. I found this book, once again, by accident. Accidents might just be getting me some great new books this year. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: January 17th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  9. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. I have a minor (*cough* major *cough*) love for superhero movies (let me be clear here: I have never read a comic book. And I don’t care if I ever do. To me it’s all about the movies and novels). And I have a really major love for female superheros. You’ve gotta love women in positions of power being unashamedly badass. Plus, this novel holds basis in greek mythology which makes me go heart eyes (yes I know I’m a geek. Sue me). *Grabby hands* Can I buy it yet? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: August 29th. Purchase: Amazon B&N
  10. One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr. Let me just say something about this author. She knows how to write faeries. Her Wicked Lovely series was a favorite of mine a while back, and I still pick up the first book sometimes. If you want a faerie book go buy hers. I’m serious. Go buy her books, read her books, and fall in love with her books. It’s that simple. Seven Black Diamonds roped me into her world of faeries and spellbinding love stories. I am more than a little excited to attack the sequel and get back into the adventures of these complex and addicting characters. Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: February 28th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Wow, those descriptions got long. I hope they tempted you to read some of these books though!

Keep in mind, these books were in no particular order (except for Windwitch)(because, I mean, come on. Truthwitch is in my overall top five)(Windwitch is clearly my number one anticipated). Also, all release dates are according to Goodreads, so I’m sorry if they are off. And, yes, there is a pattern of genres I like. Hint: it rhymes with Rung Madult Schmantasy. So there isn’t too much of a range of genres here, and I will be the first one to admit I need to broaden my reading horizons a bit. I’m working on it.

The reason I made sure to put that this is a list at the moment is because I’m always looking for new books. And there is always a good chance I might find a book I want to read more than one of these that comes out this year. There are numerous books being released this year and I can’t be aware of all of them right this moment. I’m looking forward to discovering them. Let me know some of your most anticipated releases below! Or talk to me on twitter! I’m always down to talk books.

Okay, I must get back to writing. I haven’t hit today’s word count yet, and I don’t want to develop bad habits so soon. Go read a book! Or buy one! Or write one! Just, go do something with books, okay?

Kailey

Book ABCs

Hi all! So I want to apologize for not posting in the past couple of weeks. I did say I don’t have a set posting schedule though! So I mean I warned you right? (Okay I know it’s a poor excuse. Sorry!)

Anyway, I entered Pitch Wars! Currently I’m waiting to hear from mentors and oh my GOSH is it nervewracking! But I’m working on distracting myself. I have a new work in progress (actually two but that’s a whole other story) and I’m doing my best to get a decent word count on it before the 25th when I find out if I got chosen or not as a mentee.

So one of the distractions I chose for today was this. I was bored and couldn’t focus so I decided to do a fun little thing. Here are my favorite books I own from A-Z.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

Born at Midnight – C. C. Hunter

City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover – Ally Carter

Emerge – Tobie Easton

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Grave Dance – Kalayna Price

Huntress – L. J. Smith

Iron Queen – Julie Kagawa

Just Listen – Sarah Dessen

Killer Instinct – Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Last Sacrifice – Richelle Mead

My Soul to Steal – Rachel Vincent

Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale – Christine Warren

Oh. My. Gods. – Tera Lynn Childs

Paper Towns – John Green

Queen of Shadows – Sarah J Maas

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard

Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan

Truthwitch – Susan Dennard

Unhinged – A. G. Howard

V

Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr

X

Y

Zombie Queen of Newbury High – Amanda Ashby

I did my best not to repeat authors. Some of the letters were hard to find among my books. As you can see I couldn’t find anything at all on my bookshelf for a few letters. But I 100% recommend all of these books and authors!

Honorable Mentions: Cress by Marissa Meyer, Forget you by Jennifer Echols, Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas, Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep & The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

What are some of your favorite books?

Kailey

Save Me A Spark

Yesterday I spent the entire day at Vans Warped Tour. This was my second time at warped and I had an amazing day watching bands and meeting people. 

One of the things I got to do was go to a class with Kellin Quinn and Nick Martin of Sleeping With Sirens. In this class they talked about what inspired them and gave them their spark. Music.

It got me thinking about what my spark is. Writing. 

Basically the spark they talked about is what makes you feel good or like you’re contributing to your world. It’s what you’re passionate about and you love doing. For me that’s writing.

I’ve known since my freshman year of high school that I wanted to write books for a living. It’s something I love doing more than anything. A year after that I finished my very first novel. I wrote it by hand in a notebook that was supposed to be for my biology class. 

But writing led me to create so many things. It led me to want to draw, to sing, to take photos. Writing weirdly opened up an entire creative world to me. It led me to friends I never would’ve met otherwise. And it’s given me so much happiness. 

The way Kellin and Nick talked about their spark, I know that writing is mine. Writing is probably the spark for a lot of you, too. But I want to hear it anyway. Tell me: what is your spark?

Kailey