The End of an Era

Warning: a lengthy post, gif usage, many sappy feelings lie ahead

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The Final Advent has at long last been published. The reality of that still hasn’t quite seeped in for me. Why, you ask?

Turn back the clock to 2005, eleven years ago. For me that meant fourth grade in Mr. Leeland Looper’s class, Girl Scouts, and a crazy amount of playing make-believe.

Mr. Looper always gave us at least thirty minutes each week so we could write whatever came to us. (He was big on childhood literacy. Woohoo!) In those thirty minutes, something came over me and I wrote an eleven page story, the basis of what would become No Angels today. My parents encouraged my writing, and so then I expanded it to thirty pages. Then I wrote a second one, clocking in at 50 pages. You get the idea.

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Actual photo of me after finishing a draft.

Over the course of the next few years, I dreamed up plot ideas and character concepts and so on to flesh out my writings, and in eight grade I completed what would become today’s No Angels. In my sophomore year of high school, I completed Collapsed Cathedrals, and in my freshman year at university, The Final Advent. While all of the aforementioned have undergone a massive amount of editing and reconstruction, still the effort stands and boils down to one truth: working on the No Angels trilogy had been a constant in my life for eleven years, by my side from childhood to adulthood.

Now the last book has been published. I will never again work on No Angels.

It’s immensely satisfying to have seen this project through to the end, yet it’s also bittersweet. Finally I can release this story and continue down my journey’s road, but I would be lying if I said I won’t miss it. These characters have become my friends over the years. My own life story has been threaded into the pages. And now it’s time to move on. The phrase “thanks for the memories” has never been more apparent to me than it is now.

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Yet more actual footage of me.

I want to thank everyone who’s helped me reach this point, who’s helped me achieve my still-startling reality of completing and publishing a complete trilogy by age 20. Never in my wildest dreams could I have done it without the following:

JD Hinze – My dad, the person who introduced me to storytelling and fantasy in the first place. He read over eight (horrific) versions of my first book, but with each of his edits I learned and my skills grew. Without his belief in me and his fostering my abilities and telling me to go and just do it, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

John Nagle – I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Nagle about eight years ago, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He was the first person to introduce me to the idea of independent publishing, and has offered his assistance and feedback in many of my efforts to this day. Without his suggestion and encouragement, never would I have taken the plunge into indie publishing.

Elizabeth Wheatley – Elisabeth Wheatley and I met at the Texas Book Festival a few years back, exchanged contact info, and have been writing buddies from then on out. We’ve beta-read one another’s novels, talked about story ideas, and supported one another since. She’s cheered me on and given me incredibly valuable insight for years, plus gave me the confidence and motivation to continue on my journey.

Intisar Khanani – Much like Elisabeth Wheatley, Intisar has beta-read stories of mine and given me great insights into the craft of writing. (Once she even mailed me a signed copy of her novel Sunbolt, which I LOVED.) Without these writing friends, it would have been near impossible to see this trilogy through to the end.

Matthew Bogard – I met Matthew nearly over a year and a half ago, and from day one I knew he was endowed with a sharp wit. I’ll admit to you (we’re close, right?) that we’ve also been dating for just as long. (Anecdote: I wiped the floor with him during a sparring match and he immediately asked me out to dinner.) One of my beta readers was too busy to go over The Final Advent, so Matthew volunteered in their stead. I was hesitant at first (it took him MONTHS to convince me to let him near it), but he ended up being fantastic.  Not only that, but he’s been an incredible source of support throughout my endeavors.

You – Yes, you, reading this right now, long-time reader or complete newbie who just stumbled across this post. Without the support of those in the background (especially my lovely commenters and like-rs!) I’d feel and be fruitless in my efforts, without support save those I’ve mentioned above. Knowing that my blog followers and readers are here makes everything worth it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

For me the publication of The Final Advent marks the end of an era. And so, here’s to the next one, where ever it may take us!

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Find The Final Advent on Amazon.

TFA-Cover-Reveal 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.

Author Interview: Elisabeth Wheatley

5139754Elisabeth and I have known one another for a few years now. We met at the 2011 Texas Book Festival, exchanged info, and have been reading each other’s books since! And on the book front, Wheatley is a machine. She’s written over 400,000 words this past year alone. She’s published five books in less than four years, – but what’s more is that they’re amazing. Anyone can throw down words on paper, but to make them quality? That’s a whole different ball game, and one she routinely conquers.

So, let’s take a look at the mind behind the work!

First off, here’s a look at her official bio: “Elisabeth Wheatley began what would be her first novel at eleven and hasn’t stopped writing since. When she’s not daydreaming of elves, vampires, and/or hot guys in armor, she can be found wasting time on the internet, fangirling over her latest obsession, and pretending to be a functional citizen.”

So, what got you into writing?

Well, at first it was the desire to create my own world. Then I started really getting into it and realizing how happy it made me, and now I can’t seem to quit.

How long have you been writing?

Oh, I would say about twelve years if you count all those “books” seven year old me scribbled on copy paper.

What process do you use to write? Do you use an outline, or just sort of wing it?

In truth, I have a “living” outline in my head that grows and changes as I explore the story. I once tried writing outlines, but I never stuck to the plan and eventually gave up.

Regarding the above process (or lack of), why do you prefer that method?

Like I said, I write largely for the joy of it. That’s why I prefer not to stress myself with an outline. I usually have an idea of where the story will go and how it will end, but I do enjoy letting the characters surprise me.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

I love drafting—that’s when I’m first discovering all the characters and their plans and roles in the particular story. I loathe editing with the fiery intensity of a thousand bursting supernovas—it’s a slow form of torment; going back and tightening up the story, the dialogue, proofreading, making sure there are no plot holes, on and on and on.

What is the most difficult thing, (whether conveying a certain emotion, writing love scenes, specific settings, etc.), for you to adequately transfer from your mind to paper?

When it comes to romantic scenes, I usually spend about an hour on a single page, trying to make it sound right. Most the time, I feel weird writing that sort of thing, worried it sounds corny or stupid. I suppose it’s that I’m not comfortable with them yet.

What is the process of editing generally like for you? (In terms of ease, the number of rewrites, beta editors used, etc.)

Editing for me is like shoveling mud with a spoon. I stress out a lot because there’s all the pressure to get the story right and I rely heavily on a few beta readers to tell me when I need to change something. Depending on the manuscript, I may go through 30+ “drafts”. It just depends.

Are there some different genres you see yourself pursuing in the future?

I think I would like to explore more paranormal romance and maybe sci-fi. I have a few story ideas in those genres and I think they would be fun.

What genres do you never see yourself writing in?

Well, certainly never erotica. Aside from that, I think I’ll always have an attachment to the paranormal. It’s hard to picture myself writing anything that didn’t have some degree of fantasy in it, I simply lack an affinity for the “real” world.

What keeps you motivated to write?

Pathological ambition, that’s the best answer I have. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t not write and still be happy with myself. My family can tell you all about it.

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And there you have it! A glimpse into the mind of an imaginative powerhouse. For an even further look, check out her books, and sign up for her mailing list for news and exclusive content!

Book Review: The Moon Queen – Another Book of Rhyme

20819540Title: The Moon Queen – Another Book of Rhyme

Authors: Bex Pavia, Jackie Pavia, Boo Shaw

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: February 15, 2014

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: “From the author of The Soul Bearer – and other poems comes a second collection of rhyming verse. This book offers twenty pieces of poetry that take a walk on the dark side as well as the light; from the fantasy-tale to the slightly humorous – by way of the emotional. Be taken away to an imaginary world in ‘The Tower’, and chuckle at a common human failing in ‘Thick Skin’. Includes four excellent poems by the author’s daughter and mother.” – Goodreads

As The Moon Queen is a brief collection of poems, I’ll keep my review of it brief as well.

First off, if you want to read it but worry you won’t have the time or are too busy, fear not! I read this all in one short sitting and didn’t feel rushed at all. The Moon Queen hits the perfect sweet spot in it’s length.

However, due to it’s short nature, one can see overarching patterns in it. Most of the pieces in The Moon Queen are very similar to one another, all with a dark, gloomy, and foreboding atmosphere. I don’t mind the themes, but I would’ve liked a little more variation. But don’t misunderstand; variation was in fact present, – from Thick Skin to Mistletoe to Snowman -, but it fell the slightest bit short in the amount I felt was needed.

The writing was enjoyable, with differing melodies and lush imagery. The descriptions draw you in without you even realizing it, the writing style painting a clear picture without drawing too much attention to itself. Another plus of this book was that it had multiple authors, which means that the reader has the pleasure of experiencing the distinct voices of each.

I feel this collection was put together quickly, with attention to detail falling a bit by the wayside. The melody in certain lines didn’t add up where I didn’t see a use for dissonance and the language could’ve been shaped up some more. None of the aforementioned was very present, but it still caught my attention where it did.

Overall, The Moon Queen earns a solid 4 out of 5.

Book Review: Dracian Legacy

19314566Title: Dracian Legacy

Author: Priya Kanaparti

Publisher: Reuts Publishing LLC

Release Date: February 14th, 2013

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Summary: “At seventeen, Ren Pernell knows the meaning of tragedy.
But then, a year after losing her parents, Axel Knight walks through the door and changes everything. Strange creatures start to appear, her best friend suddenly finds her irresistible, and an undeniable, unexplainable bond with Axel threatens to drive her insane. She knows he’s the key. There’s something he’s not sharing, and she’s determined to find out.
Demanding answers, she finally learns the truth: everything she ever believed is an illusion. Caught in a centuries-old blood feud between races she never knew existed, Ren discovers her true destiny. She’s the chosen one, the Echo, preordained to end the bloodshed.
There’s just one catch–in order to save those she loves and a homeland she’s never seen, she’ll have to die.
With the clock running out, she’ll have to navigate a new world of betrayal, lies and deceit. If she can forgive, finding love even in the darkest places, she just might be able to escape the prophecy. But how much is she willing to sacrifice for a cause she didn’t know she was part of? And what will it take for her to be free?” – Goodreads

I originally read this book when it came out in 2013, and now that it’s been rereleased with a publisher I’ve gotten a chance to experience it again! There are definite improvements in this updated version, which serve to make the entire story more professional and enjoyable. I still had a few issues with it, but hey, that’s the way it is with most books.

The plot isn’t anything new, yet the execution doesn’t leave you feeling as if you’ve read it before.

I liked the spunk of the characters. Too often in YA books characters come off as flat, especially supporting characters. Not here! Even the minor characters had depth to them, whether they were there for two pages or two hundred.

The writing was well done, with the exception of two things. It was a bit cluttered, as in I feel it would’ve benefitted from cutting certain words and/or sentences. Also, I didn’t care for it when. The. Author. Would. Punctuate. Simple. Sentences. Like. This. I get that it’s for emphasis, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Still, it wasn’t too common.

I have to thank Kanaparti for not overdoing the angst. What with the main character having lost both of her parents, there were quite a few opportunities for the author to beat the audience over the head with sobbing and pity. Which gets old quickly. Nothing of the sort here!

Ren and Axel’s relationship progresses very naturally throughout the story as they fall into each other’s rhythm. No insta-love in this book! They were a bit obnoxiously cheesy with one another though, and not in a “squee-so-cute” way. More in the “ugh-please-god-stop” way. (That being said, some couples are actually like that. I think.)

The pacing was good. I felt a constant momentum throughout, pulling the reader through the book’s pages.

Overall, Dracian Legacy earns a solid 3.5 out of five.

Dracian Legacy Blog Tour: Interview with the Author, Priya Kanaparti

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For the Dracian Legacy blog tour, I sat down with YA author of the series Priya Kanaparti to get a better feel for how she goes about writing her novels.

What got you into writing?

My writing adventures started because of my binge reading habits. The more I read, I was motivated to write a story of my own. At that time, I didn’t know if I’d even publish the book, but I kept at it.

How long have you been writing?

Since February 2012.

What process do you use to write? Do you use an outline, or just sort of wing it?

I mostly wing it. However, I’m getting better at outlining the story at a higher level, so that I follow a map of events to reach the conclusion.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?

My favorite part is when I’m imagining the story and things finally start to click, knowing the motives of my characters. :) Least favorite is editing, more specifically the in-line editing. It’s a gruesome process, but much needed.

What is the most difficult thing, (whether conveying a certain emotion, writing love scenes, specific settings, etc.), for you to adequately transfer from your mind to paper?

For me what’s most difficult has been to write a series. If you asked me when I initially started, it’d have been the romance scenes, but now that I’ve had a few drafts under my belt, romance comes much easier. However, I can’t say the same about writing a series!

How does editing generally go for you? In terms of ease, the number of rewrites, beta editors used, etc?

As I’ve mentioned above, editing is my least favorite part of this entire writing process. I usually go through a CP that helps me understand the character and plot holes. Then I take that feedback and fill in the gaps. After that’s completed, I revise the document, before I send it to my next CP. Once those changes are added, I usually start to work with my editor. This is takes 5-6 rounds of edits before it’s completed.

Are there some different genres you see yourself pursuing in the future?

I’m certainly branching out into contemporary romances in the near future, along with sci-fi, and Dystopian.

What genres do you never see yourself writing in?

I’m never writing horror and I’m too cheesy to write satires or comedy.

 

Interesting insight, don’t you think? Please help me in thanking Priya for her time and answers, and don’t forget to pick up your copy of Dracian Legacy today!

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priya-kanapartiPriya lives in the beautiful city of Boise, ID as a full-time working mom and part-time YA Novel Author. For the past 7+ years she has worked in multiple Fortune 500 companies and has recently found the passion to read and write.  The Dracian Legacy is her first YA paranormal romance series. She strongly believes that true love conquers all and that’s a common theme you’ll find within her novels.

You can find her online at: BlogFacebookPinterestTwitter

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dracian-legacy-fullAt seventeen, Ren Pernell knows the meaning of tragedy.

But then, a year after losing her parents, Axel Knight walks through the door and changes everything. Strange creatures start to appear, her best friend suddenly finds her irresistible, and an undeniable, unexplainable bond with Axel threatens to drive her insane. She knows he’s the key. There’s something he’s not sharing, and she’s determined to find out.
Demanding answers, she finally learns the truth: everything she ever believed is an illusion. Caught in a centuries-old blood feud between races she never knew existed, Ren discovers her true destiny. She’s the chosen one, the Echo, preordained to end the bloodshed.

There’s just one catch–in order to save those she loves and a homeland she’s never seen, she’ll have to die.
With the clock running out, she’ll have to navigate a new world of betrayal, lies and deceit. If she can forgive, finding love even in the darkest places, she just might be able to escape the prophecy. But how much is she willing to sacrifice for a cause she didn’t know she was part of? And what will it take for her to be free?

Get your copy of Dracian Legacy from REUTS.com or Amazon today!

Book Review: The Soul Bearer

18657990Title: The Soul Bearer

Author: Bex Pavia

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: October 9th, 2013

Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary: “Bringing you a selection of emotional, often dark, rhyming verse – seventeen poems have been chosen from the many this fantasy-loving author has written over the years, to deliver a pocket-sized introduction to her imagination.
From the heartfelt honesty of ‘A Prayer for My Children’, to the meandering tale of a lost king in ‘The Soul Bearer’, this is a little parcel of rhyme that offers a light, yet thought provoking treat or two.” – Goodreads

This is a charming, brief collection of poems. They vary from short to long, and uplifting to creepy. My personal favorites were A Writer’s Tale, Swallows, The Torturer, and Tread Lightly on the Echoes.

Sometimes the poems were a tad confusing or the language a bit simple, and occasionally the flow of the rhythm would be disrupted as well. However, it wasn’t a big enough issue to take away from my enjoyment of it.

The Soul Bearer is a solid, enjoyable piece of work. A 4 out of 5!

Writing Update – January 2014

(I’ve never done writing updates before, but I saw the idea from author Elisabeth Wheatley and thought it was wonderful!)

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I’m currently slaving over this series to make sure it’s in top shape before I lay it to rest. Right now I’m revising the first book, No Angels, (checking for typos, rewriting portions, etc.), which should be completed by the end of spring at the latest. I’m shooting to rerelease it within 2-3 months.

I’ll also be glazing over Collapsed Cathedrals to take care of some typos, but I’m not doing anything major with that one. It shouldn’t take long whatsoever.

Finally, I’m also editing The Final Advent, the third installment in the trilogy. I’m aiming for a June release date, and things seem to be chugging right along!

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Currently I have a flash fiction piece, “Where Gold is Born”, out on submission. I’m working on another short story, “The Stolen Sun”, that I’ve finished and have begun editing. I’ll be sending it out to magazines afterwards for (hopefully) some official publishing credentials. (Pin board for my short fiction.)

the-cradle-writing-update-banner

I hope to begin my fourth novel, – it’s WIP title being The Cradle-, this year. This will be a very different novel from anything I’ve ever written before, which is both intimidating and exciting. (You can find my pinterest board for it here, if you’re interested.) I unfortunately can’t give you a projected release date, as I’m going to seek a publishing house for this one. However, I hope to have a fully edited manuscript within one year of starting it.

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As you can see, 2014 is going to be a busy year for my writing life! It’s promising and exciting for me to have all of this up ahead; a year in which I’ll wrap up my trilogy, possibly get a few publishing credentials, and begin a brand new novel.

Wish me luck!