Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Beautiful Books Linkup--October

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful Books." It's a lot like her "Beautiful People" linkup, except focused more on the actual book than the characters.

Today I'll be talking about my NaNoWriMo book, Ms. Holmes. I'm so excited to write it.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I don't know exactly how I got the idea for the novel, except that I've had four different things I've been wanting to experiment with in my writing: 1. Retellings 2. Time travel 3. The steampunk genre and 4. Genderbending. So I mixed them all up and here we are.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

BECAUSE TIME TRAVEL. And also Sherlock Holmes. I've been obsessed with "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" for a while now, and the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes has always fascinated me. There will also be a one-eyed cat, a gossipy landlord, and tea. Lots and lots of tea.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

The title of the book is Ms. Holmes (which I'm extremely pleased with, since it's one of the few NaNoWriMo titles I had in mind right from the start), and as for what it's about, I'll just post my summary here:

What’s the best way to solve a murder? Stop it from happening in the first place. Astrid Holmes, teenage inventor and consulting detective, has spent years helping Scotland Yard’s best catch criminals and murderers and put them behind bars where they belong. But recently she’s been able to perfect a new invention that could help them even more: a time machine. Astrid and her most trusted companion, Dawn Watson, test their steam-powered machine, disguised as a train, and travel back in time to prevent said murders from ever happening. Little does Astrid know that she has a new and even more threatening enemy.

Faye Moriarty treats time as her plaything. Messing about with both past and future, Faye threatens everything Astrid’s put her life into rebuilding, and it won’t be easy to catch her. She’s slippery as an eel and deadly as the dragon she’s working night and day to build. Can Astrid and Dawn catch Faye before it’s too late? Or will time make monsters of them all?

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

I have a lot of characters in mind right now, but here we go:

Astrid Holmes (consulting detective/inventor) - Brilliant
Dawn Watson (investigative journalist) - Compassionate
Faye Moriarty (inventor) - Megalomaniac

Sahara Moran (sniper/assassin) - Loyal
Natalie Lestrade (Detective Inspector) - Stubborn

Mr. Hudson (landlord/“housekeeper”) - Welcoming

Cecily Forester (Clock-keeper) - Outcast
Emily Forester (Clock-keeper’s daughter) - Shy
Mia Holmes (Astrid’s little sister) - Sweet

Olive Harrington (Timekeeper for train station) - Odd

Kelsey and Lance Stark (Train conductors, husband and wife) - strong and adventurous, respectively
Jeffrey Stark (Son of Kelsey and Lance Stark) - Filterless
Griffon Geller (Serial killer) - Psychotic

Sir Mittens (Dawn’s one-eyed cat) - Cunning
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Ack, this is so hard to choose! I love each of my characters for different reasons, but side characters tend to be my favorites. So other than Astrid (especially her fighting with Sir Mittens when he gets in the way of her projects), I think my favorites are going to be Cecily (because she's a quirky klutz and just a bouncy, fun character) and Natalie (because she can get easily grumpy and irritable, which is always fun to write). Faye is also a villain I'm really excited to play with since I haven't ever written anyone like her.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

Astrid wants to solve the various murders and crimes Faye is carrying out with her newly completed time machine, but time is complicated and Faye is just as brilliant as she is. Not only are both past and future being messed with by Faye, but there's a problem in the present. A serial killer by the name of Griffon Geller has recently escaped from prison, and Astrid's made it her personal mission to capture him again.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

Victorian London! Mainly at 221B Baker Street, Big Ben, and the train station.

If you want to see more pictures, click HERE to go to my Pinterest board.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

Astrid's most important relationship was with her little sister Mia, but her most important current relationship is hands down with Dawn. She's the first person Astrid could even consider calling her friend.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Through Dawn's influence, Astrid will grow more and more compassionate, when before she was more closed off and cold.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

I don't usually go into a book with specific themes in mind. The best themes seem to be the ones that aren't planned, but emerge as you're writing the story. So I have no idea how to answer this question, but I know friendship is always something that's a big deal in my novels, no matter the genre or story.

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

1. Forget perfection. That's what editing is for. If you're one of those writers who can't stand to move on until everything's just how you want it to be, leave yourself a note to go fix it later. But there's no way you'll be able to write as quickly as you want to if you can't move past a plot hole.

2. Don't procrastinate. Hit your daily word goal ASAP before doing anything else, if you can avoid it. I've had years where I had to scramble to write 7,000+ words on the last day because I'd had such bad writer's block throughout the month. It never turns out as well as it would've otherwise.

3. Have fun! Win or "lose," NaNoWriMo is tons of fun. You can meet so many great people and get all of these ideas, so try not to let stressing out about your goal the main point of the event. Participate in Word Wars online, talk to other writers, and type like crazy. You'll love it even more if you do.

Your turn! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Is it your first time or are you a NaNo pro? What's your book about? Leave a comment!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Spinoff Series

In the fandom world, there's nothing I like more than fangirling over one of my favorite books or TV shows. But there's nothing worse than seeing that series take a hiatus or, *gasp*, end completely.

I'll pause here for dramatic effect. Feel free to join me in sniffling and staring longingly into the distance.

All right.

But there's a brilliant invention that helps to soothe that pain: the spinoff series.

"Doctor Who" in particular is fantastic at this. I've watched all of "Torchwood" and loved it, and now both "The Sarah Jane Adventures" and the upcoming "Class" series (*squees*) are on my to-be-watched list. I'm also over-the-moon excited for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

But if I were supreme ruler of the fandom world, so many more shows and book series would exist. For example . . .

Harry Potter - ANY STORY EVER

I will always take more Harry Potter. Whether it's a book about Luna's life with her father hunting down Crumple-Horned Snorkacks or entire series dedicated to James and Lily's years at Hogwarts, I'll read it all. Every single bit of it.

"Supernatural" - "Wayward Daughters"

There's been buzz around the Twitter and Tumblr community about the possibility of a spinoff featuring sheriffs Jody Mills and Donna Hanscum. It would be the usual "saving people, hunting things," but involving more of the awesome female characters in the "Supernatural" series that don't get as much screen time. You can find more information about it HERE and sign the petition to get the people in charge of making it happen to consider it HERE. It looks a-maz-ing.

"Sherlock" - "Moriarty"

Moriarty is one of the best villains I've seen in a long time. He's not only evil, he's hysterical, too. I'd love to see an entire show dedicated to him carrying out his elaborate plans with Sebastian Moran by his side. It'd be funny as well as action-packed, and maybe the seasons could even be staggered so we could get new episodes in between new "Sherlock" episodes.

Throne of Glass - Chaol's story

Beautiful fanart of Chaol and Dorian
I'm almost done reading Crown of Midnight, and I've got to say I freaking love that I'm getting to see this much of Chaol, even though this whole book is breaking my heart. Wouldn't it be great to see a prequel series with Chaol getting his position as Captain of the Guard and carrying out royal duties while befriending Dorian? I'd snatch it up right away.

"Gilmore Girls" - Luke's childhood, Lorelai's childhood, Jess, Kirk

Basically there are tons of options for spinoff series featuring "Gilmore Girls" characters. We could have entire shows about Luke's childhood in Stars Hollow and the transition from the hardware store to the diner, or Lorelai's childhood and life living with the rich crowd, or Jess and his adventures pre- and post-"Gilmore Girls," or even Kirk! I'm sure there are so many things about Kirk we don't know that could merit a miniseries. Come on Amy Sherman-Palladino, we all want to see them!

"Once Upon a Time" - Regina, Mulan and Aurora

I'm so happy we're getting to see more of Regina this season, and I always love the flashbacks featuring her character, but I want to see more! Her backstory is probably the most intricate one, she'd be the perfect anti-hero for a new show. And how about Mulan and Aurora? I feel like we were just starting to get to know them before that storyline was dropped. (Plus I totally ship them, so that series is just a set-up for major feels.)

How about you? What spinoff series would you like to see? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

#WritersLife Tag

This is stolen from Cait, who stole it from somebody else, because it just looked like too much fun to pass up. And also I haven't been blogging as much as I'd like, and blog tags are always a good way to get back in that rhythm.

Write Fuel: What do you eat/drink while writing?

Cheez-Its have become my go-to writing snack, but I'll also go for anything chocolate (especially Reese's products). As for drinks, something warm and writerly, like tea or hot chocolate or a mocha.

Write Sounds: What do you listen to while writing?

Anything and everything. Sometimes depending on the book I'm writing, I'll have a specific playlist for that, but most of the time it's whatever comes on my iPod. Taylor Swift, "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" soundtracks, and the current song on repeat 24/7 are my favorites. I tried writing while having a "Doctor Who" episode playing in the background, but that ended poorly . . . mostly my characters just started saying whatever the Doctor was saying. Then I just stopped writing all together and got sucked into the episode.

Write Vice: What's your most debilitating distraction?

Whatever's going on just outside the room. Most likely my dog freaking out about something new. That and the internet in general. Tumblr is just too shiny.

Write Horror: What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you while writing?

Rejections are pretty horrible at first, but I think the winner would have to be that moment of panic when something goes screwy and you lose a big chunk of your writing. Even if you try to recreate it right away, it's never the same.

Write Joy: What's the best thing that's ever happened or how do you celebrate small victories?

Best things . . .

-Finishing my first novel
-Winning NaNoWriMo
-Winning contests
-Taking on jobs at different writing websites
-Having a critique partner/beta reader rave about a certain character or part of a story that I'm particularly proud of
-Making myself cry while writing
-Having an agent request a full manuscript

How I celebrate . . .

-Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.
-Spinning around aimlessly in my desk chair while I revel in the feeling of productivity.
-Netflix, usually with a "Doctor Who" episode.
-Telling my friends/family.

Write Crew: Who do you communicate with or not communicate with while writing?

Usually I keep my first drafts mostly to myself, though I will post snippets here and there on my blog and/or Twitter. I'll go to my critique partners for help, too, if I need it. Right now, though, I'm writing a novel using characters based off of the original characters my friends are playing in our Supernatural roleplay, so I'm teasing them with random excerpts via text message.

Write Secret: What's your writing secret to success or hidden flaw?

Believe me, if I knew the secret to success, I would share it with you. I'd also be getting a lot more done. But if there is a secret, I haven't found it yet. So I'll just leave you with the advice to find something about whatever you're writing to be excited about and hang onto it. If you're not enthusiastic about your project, it won't get finished.

As far as my "hidden" flaw, I procrastinate. Endlessly. Hence the not posting on here for almost a month (oops). When I don't have any ideas, I tend to put it off and wait for the inspiration to hit, which any good writer will tell you is a terrible way to go about things. Don't do it.

Also my characters "raise a single eyebrow" a lot, which is very unrealistic, because most people I know aren't capable of doing this . . .

Write-spiration: What always makes you productive?

As much as it might seem weird, Pinterest! Like I said before, you have to find something to be excited about when it comes to your writing. So sure, I might "waste" an afternoon creating an elaborate Pinterest board for my novel, but after that I'm practically bouncing out of my chair with anticipation of actually writing the whole thing.

Putting together a playlist also helps for similar reasons. If I have pins of actors and actresses "playing" my characters and an awesome soundtrack to go with it, the fangirl in my starts squeeing over the imaginary movie and I hurry up to get it written so that's actually a possibility.

Write Peeve: What's one thing writers do (or you do) that's annoying?

I'll just say the first thing that popped into my head, because my mind's drawing a blank: plotlines that drop off. I hate it when an author teases us about a possible storyline, but never does anything with it. Drives. Me. Crazy. Of course I'm guilty of the same thing, but I generally catch myself after the first round of edits.

WriteWords: Share one sentence from a project, past or present.

I'll break the rules and share a short snippet from my two current projects, Beneath the Moon and Stars (which I'm editing) and 'Til the Last Star Dies (which I'm writing):


I rolled my eyes at him, though a grin took over the rest of my face. “You’re so self-deprecating.”

“I could say the same to you.”

I shrugged. “Call it that, call it me trying not to attract attention.”

Lane’s blue eyes twinkled, as if his wide smile had lit up his whole being. “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”


Maybe it was the way she sat slumped over her glass of Coke, shoulders pulled up almost to her ears as her long, lazy curls of hair—a shade of burned golden, like a toasted marshmallow—worked hard to hide her face. Maybe it was the oversized hoodie that seemed to swallow her whole, dark clothes melting into the shadows. Maybe it was the fact that the ice in her soda had long since melted, watering it down, but in all the time Lila had been sitting at the bar, she hadn't taken a single sip.

 But most of all, it was her aura. A foggy forest green, but there was something off about it. It shimmered too much, almost like it was shivering. The energy was tense and buzzing, static electricity causing the hairs on Lila's arms to stand on end. The woman was trying so hard not to be seen that it was difficult for Lila to focus on anything but her, on the nervousness and fear, on wondering what she could do to fix it. The draw to her was nearly impossible to ignore, pulling them together like a couple of magnets.

Lila raised her hand to the bartender and gave a quiet, “One more,” then gestured to the woman, who sat a few stools away from her. She didn't even glance up when Lila spoke. 

I'm tagging . . .

All of you writers! Write a blog post or leave a comment. I want to hear all of your writerly secrets. ;)

Friday, October 2, 2015

September Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Looking For Alaska by John Green


Definitely much better than Paper Towns. I feel like it had more depth to it, though I am sick and tired of the "mysterious girl next door that's kind of a jerk but something about her just draws me in" character John Green seems to be so fond of. It was easy to get into despite the fact that the first hundred pages didn't have a clear plot in mind. But the last half flew by and it was a good story overall.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


Maggie Stiefvater did it again! Another great paranormal read with short chapters and likable characters and beautiful writing. It reads very fast, and it had a great kind of "Teen Wolf" vibe to it mixed with something else I can't quite put my finger on. Plus, it's a good book for this time of year now that it's getting colder out.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy by Sam Maggs


I loved this! It was such a fun book to read as a fangirl, and a great way to learn about new fandoms. For boys and girls alike, if you're into Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings or "Doctor Who" or . . . any fandom, really, this is for you.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio


Such a fantastic addition to the "We Need Diverse Books" community. I had very little knowledge on people who are intersex before reading this. I feel educated without feeling preached to, and the story itself did a pretty good job overall of giving us good plots and interesting characters that weren't completely defined by the protagonist's diagnosis. Kristin is intersex, but she's also a high-school student, a daughter of a single father, an athlete, and all of these other things. I highly recommend it.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier


Like all of Raina's books, this one is adorable. The illustrations are so simple, but it doesn't take away from the story. And as a kid who's gone through a ton of orthodontic work, I could totally relate to a lot of her situation. It won't take you more than an afternoon to finish.

Movies I Watched

"The Return of the King"


This was probably my favorite movie out of the three, even if it's the longest. I don't remember much from the books, but the friendship between Sam and Frodo in the movie is one of the best I've seen in a long time. And of course Merry and Pippin are always great. The only part that felt really dragged out was the ending, because I kept thinking it was going to end, and then it'd switch to another scene.

"One Crazy Summer"


This was super goofy and cheesy, but fun. I liked it more than "Better Off Dead," because it had somewhat more of a stable plot in mind while keeping the same style of movie. I'll never see Curtis Armstrong as anyone but Metatron, though. It's still really weird to see him in any other role.

"Ocean's Thirteen"


After "Ocean's Eleven," this one was my favorite. I love movies that involve some great heist or crime or something that requires a thousand different steps to pull off. It's fascinating and keeps me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Plus, you laugh a lot with the Ocean's movies, too.

Obsessions I Acquired

Spotify. I use this all the time when I'm writing now, because it's so easy to create different playlists and find new songs. The mobile app is pretty convenient, though I much prefer the computer version.

Guitar/ukulele. I bought myself a ukulele recently and I've loved playing it. The chords are so much simpler! I probably should've started with that before doing guitar, but I've found that I can play both pretty well now considering I've just taught myself online. I've even tried writing a song or two, which was extremely difficult and probably won't be doing again anytime soon, but it was fun to try it out.

My Beneath the Moon and Stars Pinterest board. With all the editing I've been doing recently, I took a break to organize my Pinterest board and, well, that break stretched into four-plus hours of photo editing and fangirling endlessly over casting choices. Everyone just fits so perfectly.

This video. Oh. My. God, is this gorgeous. Apparently it was a routine on "So You Think You Can Dance," but I like this version better. And the subway station atmosphere fit perfectly. I've watched it no less than a dozen times now. There's something mesmerizing about it.

Picture of the Month

From my Pinterest board, this is a pretend movie cover I designed featuring a quote from the book (said by Lane, of course, because he's smooth like that). I love the simplicity of it, and the pretty font.

How was your September?