Writing Update: February 2016

(It feels so weird to not have a No Angels section of this anymore! I suppose I’ll adjust.)

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My monthly progress with this one has been halting, mostly due to essays and midterms. That being said, I’ve written 13k thus far and plan to be at 15k by the end of the month. It’s still wildly fun to write, but the fact that school has been getting in the way had been less than satisfying. I’ve also missed the previous two writing-treat-weekend sessions because of life’s hiccups. It’ll be nice to feel on-track again!

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Still subbing. Still no response. *Bangs head on desk.* Waiting is just part of the game!

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Again, this one is still out with no response. I’ve been toying with the idea of reworking it a little since my writing has developed over the years and I want to bring it up to par, so next time it comes back that’ll be what I do!

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Ah yes, my sci-fi/horror short. It’s decided to take a very different, more compelling turn from what I originally intended, one that makes for lots of morally-gray areas. (A definite plus!) Again, this one feels halting in its progress, but that’s just how this month is going I suppose. I can tinker with the flow once I have a finished draft!

How is your month going? Are you working on any projects or goals? Comment below!

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THE FINAL ADVENT Release!

After years of drafting, editing, rewriting, and (of course) more editing, THE FINAL ADVENT has officially been published! Go pick up your copy today of the final installment in the NO ANGELS trilogy, where action, adventure, and intrigue abound. (Only available in eBook format for the time being. It should be available in paperback soon!)

Also, for those of you on Goodreads, add it to your list here!

Getting to this point has been such an incredibly long, toiling, and rewarding journey. Without the support of all those I know and love, never in my wildest dreams would this have been possible. Each and every one of you–yes, YOU reading this right now–have been invaluable to me, whether you’re aware of it or not. I’ll cut the sentiments short for now (that’s for a whole different post), but be warned: they’re coming for you!

Thank you so much for following me on my adventures thus far. With the No Angels trilogy wrapped up, it’s time that we take the next steps out into an even bigger, if mysterious, world.

Until next time!

Cover & Blurb Reveal: The Final Advent (No Angels #3)

At long last, I’m proud to finally reveal the cover and blurb for The Final Advent! It’s been a long journey in getting here, but well worth it.

The Final Advent is the third and last installment in the No Angels trilogy, one that I’ve been working on for a long time now. In the days leading up to the release date (soft date is January 5th), I’ll be publishing some posts on my journey up to this point, what I’ve learned, and so on.

For the time being, check out The Final Advent‘s cover and blurb below!

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Death overshadows everyone at some point, but for Liz Patrona that time comes far too soon. Word comes that Wily, her ruthless enemy, survived being thrown into the Black River and crossed into Geminus to usurp the kingdom’s throne. Now his sights rest firmly on her world. Knowing Liz is the only threat in his path, he curses her to die in one year’s time—unless she can kill him before the clock runs out. In the months she has left, she must travel into Geminus, forge precarious alliances with those who’ve survived Wily’s reign, and battle for her very survival. Yet what lies in Geminus may be more than she bargained for. In these foreign lands looms a sinister secret about her own past. Something that has been guiding her from her first breaths to her final steps.

In the long-awaited conclusion to the No Angels trilogy, Liz is pushed one last time to discover the bounds of how far she’s willing to go to protect those she loves—even if it means losing herself along the way.

Find the rest of the trilogy below:

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Thoughts? Predictions? I hope you’re just as excited for this book’s release as I am. Comment below!

The End of Hiatus

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In February 2015 I announced that I was going to be taking an official hiatus, as things in my life were getting pretty stressful. I’d assumed that I would be back in a few months or so. Ha ha. Ha.

I’m going to level with you guys and be completely transparent. 2015 was the worst year of my life to date. My little brother unexpectedly passed away. I was diagnosed with a life long, semi-degenerative, incurable illness. (Said illness got much worse this year, so for a lot of 2015 I’ve been struggling to just stay afloat.) I developed chronic nausea so bad that I could hardly eat anything; I was hospitalized for a week; I randomly passed out; I fell down two flights of stairs and had an icebox land on me; and so on. You hopefully get the picture at this point.

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A summary of 2015

But now I’m back. While this year has been nothing short of a pain, I’ve learned how to adapt and make it through. I’ve had to focus in on what’s truly important to me, and writing is one of those things.

Thus, I officially declare my hiatus as over! And boy do I have a surprise for you guys.

The Final Advent will be released in January of 2016. (It’ll likely be ready towards the tail-end of December, but I don’t want to harm the book’s release my putting it too close to Christmas and New Years.) The cover is done, the formatting is largely finished, and all I have left to take into account is one beta editor’s feedback. The No Angels trilogy will finally be complete!

I’ve already started drafting my next novel, The Immortal, which I have high hopes for, and am also drafting a short, loose horror retelling of Frankenstein.

I’m so happy to be back at it again. When I’m writing, when I’m reading, when I’m doing ANYTHING book related, I feel a sense of ease and excitement all at once. Thank you guys so much for your incredibly patience in my absence; I can’t thank you enough for your support and kind words.

While 2015 was undeniably rough, 2016 is set to be the best year yet! Let’s get to it!

Book Review: Seraphina

Seraphina_book_cover_(US_addition)Title: Seraphina

Author: Rachel Hartman

Release Date: July 10th, 2012

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: “Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.” – Goodreads

Excuse me while I scream.

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Seraphina is easily one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long while. The reasons for this are multitudinous. The writing, the world-building, the characters, etc.

First off, the writing. It is gorgeous. It strikes that perfect yet elusive balance between rich and clear, all without being overly flowery. This is probably some of the best writing I’ve ever seen, hands down.

One of the things that sets this fantasy novel apart from others, however, is the world the author built. The cultures and lore are intriguing, and not strictly based on Europe! Yay! Also, Hartman has a distinct way of approaching the topic of dragons. They’re not straightforward monsters to be conquered (well, depending on who you ask), but rather characters to be engaged with, each with a variety of motives and angles. Their culture and what makes them tick is just as engrossing too.

The characters were varied and believable. I could relate well to Seraphina, but aside from her I’d have to say my favorite character is Glisselda. She’s regal, kind, confident, and is armed with a sharp wit. The characters aren’t predictable or transparent, which lends to part of the charm of the book. You’re constantly guessing at people’s true loyalty, and usually I’m very good at guessing who the ultimate Bad Guy is. Not here! I was taken completely by surprise. Which I love.

The rhythm and pace were fine tuned to perfection. Even when things were (technically speaking_ slow moving, it didn’t feel slow moving. It felt more like the literary equivalent of gliding down a lazy river.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the romance. I saw no real reason for it, aside from the fact that (*SPOILER*) Kiggs was the first guy in Seraphina’s age range to really interact with her. (END SPOILER) The romance felt a bit forced; I feel like they make better friends than romantic partners. That being said, I do like that the romance isn’t there for drama’s sake. They decide to be honorable in how they intend to go about it.

All in all, Seraphina is one of the best fantasy books I’ve ever read. The characters, plot, pacing, etc . . . all of it is hands-down delightful. Highly recommended!

Freebie Friday: NO ANGELS, newly revised!

As many of you know, the newly revised edition of my novel No Angels is back on the market!

Woohoo! Books!

Woohoo! Books!

But as a special treat to further celebrate its re-release, No Angels will be free all of today and tomorrow! (January 30th – January 31st)

Have you not yet read my book? Well, now that it’s free you have nothing to lose! Check out my summary of it below and follow the link to get it (again, FOR FREE!) on Amazon!

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Click here to find No Angels on Amazon! 

12949450“Liz Patrona never expected to lose her normal life completely. She never expected that people’s memories of her would vanish, or that all records of her existence would disappear. She never expected to be stolen away to a city beneath the desert. And she definitely never expected to be told she was the God-chosen barrier between the common man and paranormal threats.

Liz is a teenager perfectly happy with her mediocrity, that is, before she’s taken by a peculiar group of people and forced into a role she never imagined, – and definitely doesn’t want. Distinguishing illusion from reality, realizing her abilities as a pyrokinetic, and keeping other-worldly objects from the hands of normal folk are only some of the things that await her. Prepared for this by her new mentor, a rude, possibly sadistic, but oddly attracting man, Liz braces herself for what is to come. But many an unknown thing lurks here, and what she doesn’t know may just kill her.”

Click here to find No Angels on Amazon!

Book Review: These Broken Stars

13138635Title: These Broken Stars

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: December 10th, 2013

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: “It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.” – Goodreads

I have to admit, I initially was interested in These Broken Stars because of the gorgeous cover. I mean, just look at it. *sighs* Thankfully, I was treated to a great read in addition to a beautiful cover!

The first and most prominent thing that stands out to me are the characters. And they are awesome. They have backbone, they’re distinct from one another, and are overall very charming and dimensional. They do become more similar to one another as the story progresses, but they still retain many of their individual qualities while developing new ones. Not to mention, the dual point of view was on point.

Think of the plot as something that starts off as a sci-fi retelling of Titanic, then spirals into a paranormal, wilderness survival story. Awesome, right? One of the most intriguing things about this book from a writer’s standpoint is how the authors made the story progress and have momentum without much of an apparent conflict or manifested issue to overcome. (Such, survival is great and all, but it’s difficult to write conflict if there’s not something tangible you’re fighting against, which is why it’s so neat to find a well executed example.) I’m always amazed when people can pull that off. (See Rainbow Rowell‘s books to get an even better feel for what I mean.)

The writing is lovely, striking a harmonious balance between being rich and clear without getting too flowery.

The only drawback I felt in the story was that it comes across as a little overinflated. What I mean by that is that it takes a bit too long to get from point A to point B. Also, the conclusion regarding Lilac and her father was something I did not see coming, and not in a great way either. Something about it feels a bit off, like it was out of character, but that may have just been me.

Overall, I’d highly recommend this novel to fans of sci-fi, romance, and/or survival tales. Clear writing, developed characters, and a plot with momentum all come together into a literary treat. A solid 4 out of 5 stars!