Friday, January 27, 2017

Booklist 2017: Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

Full Disclosure:  I rarely read books that are outside of the realm of "Fantasy" in some capacity.  Generally, they all have magic or supernatural creatures involved.  That being said, I decided to take a leap out of my familiar pond and read something that didn't involve ghosts, vampires, witches, etc.  Although, it did include horoscopes which is probably why I felt like it was the perfect way to ease myself into "normal".  *wink*

I'm so glad that I fished in new waters.  Supernatural-centric stories will always be my favorites but this book was a delightful romp nonetheless.  Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday is an adorable and charming love story about navigating the signs life gives you and trusting your gut enough to take chances.

Theo Wallace and his sister Leone are both heartbroken but very much want to move past the people that hurt them.  Inspired by one of the horoscopes that their mother sends them, they intend to do exactly that.  Theo and Leone make a deal to find each other dates to a spring wedding, giving them the opportunity to liven things up and make some new friends.  Enter Mr. Jamie Cooper, practically perfect in every way.  Theo is determined to make a love connection for his sister and finds himself endlessly surprised in the process.

I had a hard time putting this one down and would quickly pick it back up again at every opportunity.  Theo was incredibly relatable to me, so it was fun to read a character that I saw a lot of myself in.  Leone is a badass!  Such an inspiring lady.  I love her.  Can we please talk more about how much I love this woman?  *grin*  And Jamie?  Well, Mr. Jamie Cooper makes me want to be a better person; eat right, exercise, learn to fold my laundry properly.  Ha!

All in all, a super fun and insanely sweet read.  It's labeled as the first in a series, so I'm looking forward to more!  I also plan on checking out Anyta Sunday's other books as well.  I hope you will too!

**Bonus:  There's also a free download of a sexy follow-up to this book entitled Leo Tops Aries which you can also find on Amazon**

Thanks for reading!,

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

5 Tips For Planning Your Novel

One of the things that readers and friends ask my advice of the most is how to begin the novel writing process.  They have a good story idea but feel as though actually writing it is a daunting beast of uncertainty.  I've given them pointers and tips that they felt really helped inspire them to get started.  These are all based on my personal experience and process and will hopefully help you out as well!


Let's jump into this assuming that you already have an idea for your novel.  Get a notebook because it will be your best friend (besides your characters) through this entire process.  First, write down what the theme of your story will be.  Is there a social message you're trying to convey?  Is it a coming of age tale?  A slow burn romance?  A post-apocalyptic adventure?  Whatever it is, jot it down.  Next to that, include a few short descriptions of the general tone or genre you'd like your story to fall under.  This will help you to keep everything feeling fluid and connected with purpose.

Now, let's talk about that plot.  Sometimes writers like to begin a story without knowing at all where it will go.  This is actually completely acceptable and, even if you do know where your story is headed, typically you will consider new ideas along the way and want to incorporate them.  Other times you will know exactly where your story is headed before you start.  So, whichever route you've decided to take, go ahead and write a paragraph or two down explaining to yourself what you want the story to be about or how it is intended to conclude.  Forcing yourself to put these ideas into words will help you to begin to actualize the story; which, in turn, helps tame that daunting beast you felt so uncertain about.

In other words, you now have a reliable foundation.  If you confuse or overwhelm yourself along the way, you can always refer back to this first page of your notebook where you've stated your intent.  It's less likely that you'll wander off your path if you have a map.


I could write an entire post on this one process alone and, honestly, I plan to.  So, for now, we'll just focus on the basics. 

Assign Roles - Protagonists, villains, minor characters.  Decide what roles you need to bring this story to life and then you can begin to get to know them.

Nice To Meet You - There are several things you can do to initially create your characters.  They are NOT naming them or deciding what they look like.  Just as in real life, you don't want to form an opinion about someone based on their name or their appearance.  Start by giving your characters simple personalities (Don't worry, they will become far more complex once you start allowing them to have dialogue and interact.), strengths, weaknesses, quirks, motivations, and fears.  Once you've established these core elements then you've got yourself an actual character!  Say "Hi" to them, give them a hug, talk with them; you are now connected for life.  The writing process feels a lot like hanging out with your best friends.  They just happen to be fictional.

Names & Faces - Now feel free to name them.  You'll find that establishing personality traits has already caused you to begin imagining what they might look like.  Picture them in various situations and think about what mannerisms they might have or the expressions they might make.  You'll find that you know exactly what they look like very quickly.  A lot of times, they might remind you of one of your favorite actors or actresses.  That's great too because now you have an easy reference if you need it.


This step might not always be necessary but most of the time it is.  You have your characters, you know your story, so now you just need to feel confident writing about the material.  This generally happens if you are writing science fiction, historical fiction, or horror novels.  There are time periods, places, concepts, etc. that might need further exploration and understanding before you begin to incorporate and describe them in your story.  Take as much time as you need for this.  Save as many resources to refer back to as possible.  And, please, at least try to be organized.  You'll save a lot of time and thank yourself later.


Refer back to that short plot description.  Now you need to do one of two things (or both).  Either choose to write a timeline of events for your story to follow or go ahead and write a quick paragraph explaining what you intend to happen for each chapter.  Remember that none of this is final.  You can, and will, change it numerous times.  Always be flexible with your story because it will begin to flourish and develop along the way as you write your first draft.  However, taking the time to write a general outline like this is just another way to keep you focused and your story on track.  The more references you have to look back on while writing, the better.


You're all ready now!  You will also inevitably feel anxious about putting that opening line down.  Just do it.  Write from the heart, trust your gut, and listen to your characters.  If you don't like it, you can always go back and change it.  Nothing is seen by the world until you're ready for it to be.  So take the time to play around with a few different openings and see which one feels strongest to you.

Now you've done it.  You're writing a novel.

I hope you found these tips helpful!

Thanks for reading!,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Booklist 2017: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I recently finished reading the first book on my "Booklist" for this year.  I set a goal of 15 this time around.  Last year, I read 16 and I figured I'd just stay in the same ballpark since I tend to keep busy.  I have to say, this year's reading list already started out with a bang! (Err...Uhm...No pun intended...okay, maybe slightly intended.)  In all seriousness, though, this book is not only great; it is probably one of my favorite reads in the past couple of years.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller retells the story of Achilles destiny and gives us a full and rich tale of the lifetime bond of friendship and love between himself and his best friend, Patroclus.  I think that most who enjoy Homer's Iliad and Greek mythology reimaginings will adore this fresh revival of these classic characters.  Along with providing us a deep connection to the two protagonists, through the intimate narrative of Patroclus, Miller also paints a vivid picture of all of the people, places, and deities involved.  The tone and structure of the story feels as though it could stand alongside Homer's works as canon material.  The descriptive passionate thoughts of Patroclus are raw and honest, romantic and poetic.

This book is emotional, intense, and unyielding.  It's definitely one that you won't want to put down but, when you finally do, it will assuredly be with tears in your eyes.

So, what drew me to this story originally?

The fan art.  I stumbled across it one day and the beauty of the illustrations as well as the quotes compelled me to find out more about the book.  So, I quickly looked it up and checked it out at my local library.  I tend to discover a lot of new books, shows, etc. through fan art.  I figure if someone loved it enough to take the time to illustrate it then there's a good chance it's going to be a great story.  In this case, it was an excellent one.  A tale of unconditional love and friendship that stands the test of time.

Thanks for reading and I hope you'll add this one to your Booklist this year!

Fan Art Credits: /
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Book Release - The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett (Paperback)

I'm happy to announce that you can now get your hands on the paperback edition of The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett through Amazon!

I absolutely love this book cover and I'm so excited to finally have it on my bookshelf in a real, tangible, form.  There's a unique sentimental feeling that you get when you can actually hold the story that you've put so much of your own heart into.  

I've gotten a lot of great feedback and reviews from readers on this story and I just want to take a moment to say thank you!  I try to entertain but, most of all, I try to share the deepest parts of myself through my characters.  It truly means a lot to me any time I receive a message or comment about how much they are loved or how relatable someone finds them.  So thank you for all of your kind words and all of your continued support!

As always - Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year

(Quote from John Muir // Images found on Pinterest)

Hello 2017!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!  Mine was great and extremely relaxing which was something I definitely appreciated.  Of course, "relaxing" to me is a slightly different definition than most people would have.  I did a lot of research which goes hand in hand with writing.  I also had a chance to sit down and make some long-term decisions and plans regarding the ROAM series which I'm very excited about.  I hope everyone feels refreshed starting out this new year and ready to tackle their creative and personal goals!

The Softcover edition of The Revelation of Dacey Sinnett is almost here!  I'll be reviewing a proof copy soon and if everything looks good then I hope to have them available through Amazon sometime this month.  I also plan to release Fossegrimen (short story) on Kindle early on in the year.

I have two books on Wattpad which are being updated regularly.  HUNTER and The Dead Oaks: Book One.  I'll continue to work on these in the first part of the year and then hope to finish the year out with my (ROAM) spin-off/tie-in DůO.  I can't give too much about it away but I can tell you that it will delve deeper into the Order of Azoth, Hunters, and Techno Mages.  But that's all I'm revealing for now!  I may even begin some other projects but we'll just have to wait and see how scheduling works out.  I also plan to submit some things to a few publications and enter some writing contests.

A book signing event may be in the works.  No date set yet.  Still mulling a few possibilities over.  I will keep you all posted, though!  That leads into an art-related question that I've already been asked.  Will I have any booths at conventions this year like I have the past couple of years?  I have no idea.  I haven't made any plans to and I'm still juggling the logistics of it.  Please keep in mind that everything I do to market/promote my work is 100% me, so it really just depends on time/finances.  I do love seeing you in person, though!  That's why I think perhaps a book signing might be better suited this time around.  You can always find my art online, though!

I already listed a few fun sketch cards in my Etsy shop over the holiday and I plan to list more periodically throughout the year.  I could write an entire segment on my artistic plans and because of that I'll end those musings here and save them for a future post.

Speaking of art, how awesome are these drawings of Ethan, Benny, & Dacey (ROAM), and Jasper & Wes (The Dead Oaks) from Gaby of Whimsy and Noir!  I absolutely love them!  She also runs a paranormal webcomic and has her own Etsy shop; so be sure to check her out sometime!

If you guys have any fanart or things you'd like to share from these series please send them my way so that I can include them here on the blog!
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you all have a fantastic year!