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.

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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!

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!

Biting the Bullet

bite the bullet

If only editing were as fun as eating candy. . .

[IDIOM] To bite the bullet: to make yourself do something or accept something difficult or unpleasant

Sometimes we indie authors get bad reviews. (This obviously isn’t just an indie thing, but those with publishing houses and editors have a system saying their work is worth their attention and time. When you’re an indie author, it’s just you. Maybe a few of family members and friends, but generally speaking they’re not writing professionals.)

Sometimes we know those reviews are simply the result of the fact that you can’t please everyone.

But sometimes? Sometimes even we are unhappy with our own work. Not just “I could have done X, Y, & Z a bit better, but oh well.” I mean “I can’t stand to even look at the thing and I wonder how many readers stop reading it and it’s just not good.”

For almost a year and a half I’ve been upset with the quality of my first book, No Angels, so I got honest opinions from some other authors. The reviews, (all poor), stated the book had a lot of potential and could’ve been a wonderful read, but it needed more work. They confirmed my worries.

So what to do? I could:

A.) not do anything, allowing people to read my shoddy first work at the risk that it will draw them away from the second and third installments, (which in my opinion are of significantly better quality)

or

B.) bite the bullet, edit and revise No Angels, and put out a new edition.

As an author, I want to give people the best story I can. I intend to do so, releasing a new edition of No Angels in 2014 before the release of my third and final installment in the trilogy*. By correcting something that’s been bothering me for over a year, I can let the trilogy rest in peace and look back at it with the satisfaction of a job well done. I hope you’re just as excited as I am.

Onwards I go!

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* The release of a new edition of No Angels will not affect The Final Advent‘s release date.

No Angels & Collapsed Cathedrals – Book Trailers

I’ve finally gotten around to making trailers for both published installments of the No Angels trilogy. The second is my favorite. How about you? Do they do anything for you? It’s difficult to put together a trailer with, well . . . absolutely no budget, but such is life.

Anyhow, check them out below!

No Angels

Collapsed Cathedrals

NO ANGELS’ Fight Scene Playlist

Elisabeth Wheatley, author of the (EXTREMELY AWESOME) Argetallam Saga recently did a blog post featuring select songs from the playlist she uses when writing fight scenes. You can find it here! She has great taste in music.

I have an extremely long playlist for No Angels, so the songs listed below are merely my “go-to” ones, that always fit no matter the fight scene and no matter my mood. So without further ado, here are my top 7 songs in my fight scene playlist for the No Angels trilogy!

1. Protectors of the Earth – Two Steps from Hell

I adore Two Steps from Hell. ALL of their music is stunning. I’d put entire albums of their’s on here if I could, (my favorite is Invincible), but I feel this will give you a good taste of them. If you write fantasy, like fantasy, or just appreciate amazing music, check them out.

 

2. Carol of the Bells – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This is legitimately the first song ever to go onto the No Angels playlist, and is still a biggie today.

 

3. Ignition – TobyMac

 

4. Let it Rock – Kevin Rudolf ft. Lil Wayne

(Note: I’m not a fan of Lil Wayne’s part, (nothing against him, I don’t even know a thing about the guy), I just find it very. . . different from the rest of the song. Either way, it’s still a good song!)

 

5. Preliator – Globus

Like Two Steps from Hell, essentially everything Globus does is amazing. Check ’em out.

 

6. Radioactive in the Dark [Songmix] – Imagine Dragons & Fallout Boy

 

7. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore

I like rap, though generally it doesn’t do well as a fight song. At least, not for me when writing.

 

And so, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed the songs, or at least discovered some new music. If you’re a writer, what’s your fight song playlist?

Giveaway Winners Annoucement

I’m happy to finally be announcing the three winners of my giveaway!

Each winner will receive a copy of No Angels and Collapsed Cathedrals by Eli Hinze, (yours truly), Thorn by Intisar Khanani, and The Key of Amatahns by Elisabeth Wheatley.

The winners are as follows:

  • Christina Galbraith-Popma
  • Fran Swarts
  • Hannah Margaret Cook

Congratulations, everyone! A big thanks to everyone who entered and helped me promote this. You all are the best.

Winners will be contacted shortly!