Saturday, August 5, 2017

July Wrap-Up


Hey everyone! Wow, July went by really fast! So fast that I only ended up posting once last month. #oops :P (So I won't have a "blogging" section this time) It's been colder than previous summers, and I don't think I've gone a day without putting on a sweatshirt at least once. I don't really mind though because I love wearing hoodies. :) Anywho, let's get started.



Writing

I think writing went pretty well in July. I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo (this time I was in a cabin) and I started with a goal of 3k. I know, it's such a huge goal. :P But the reason it wasn't very high was because I knew that I would be here a camp, and wouldn't have a lot of time to write. And, not to mention, the writing would be by hand. I didn't even start though, until the 15th because I was soo busy. Unfortunately, as the end of camp nano approached, I realized that I wouldn't be able to reach my goal, so I had to lower it. My new goal was 2k, which I'm happy to say that I reached. :)

Also, I've shared the prologue of Strangers (which was what I worked on for camp nano) with a few campers. Now, I don't really like sharing my writing, especially rough drafts, but I gave in to one camper, which then led to more. Here's how it happened:

So, I'm really good friends with one of the guys on my day off, and his younger brother is a camper here. At one of my basketball periods, I mentioned that I write (I don't remember why I said this). Apparently, my friend's little brother didn't know this, so proceeded to ask me about the books that I'm writing. I told him, and he expressed great interest in them. Later, I started the rewrite of Strangers and asked his opinion on something. He asked to read the prologue since that's what drives the rest of the story. Thankfully, he really liked it, and his friend was standing right there so I let him read it too. Then, I was telling my co-counselor (in the bunk) and a couple of my girls overheard and asked to read it, which led to more of them reading it.

I'm pretty sure that almost all of my girls have read it now. But every one of them has said that they really liked it and asked me when it's going to be published. This is soo motivating! :D


Reading

I haven't gotten much reading in this month. I have yet to finish a book since I've been at camp, but I have three books that I've picked up in the last month, and those are Viper, The Ruins of Gorlan, and A Wrinkle in Time. Pretty much my only reading time is during rest time, which is right after lunch. As it turns out, it's kinda hard to read and shush girls, who are being louder than they should be, at the same time. :P I do have some bookworms in my cabin, and they have asked me multiple times what books I'm reading.

Apparently, I have a lot of books on my shelf because one of my girls thought that my shelf was a library. We all had a good laugh over that. :)


Other

So, as you know, I'm at summer camp, and have been all last month. :P (You're probably getting tired of hearing me say that.) This is my ninth summer in a row here at camp, my third year as a counselor, but my first year as a bunk counselor. Obviously, there are pros and cons to being in the bunk, but overall I really like it. :D My co-counselor is the best, and we work very well together. We all have a lot of fun and very much enjoy being, and doing, things together. Sometimes, strange things are said too. Here are a couple that I heard my girls say:


"Get your nose away from my dryer sheet."

"I hate Star Wars, it hurts my eyes."

I also have had a lot of fun teaching basketball and ultimate. It's so rewarding seeing campers learning and mastering new skills. :)

I know that I haven't been blogging as much as I had hoped (and probably even said), but I'm trying to do better. I'm also behind on reading other blogs, but don't worry, I haven't forgotten about you. I will read all the posts I've missed just as soon as I have enough time. I promise. ;)


How about you? How was your July?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The #VoicesofYA Tag


Hey everyone! As you know, I didn't post last week. It was crazy, and I had nothing prepared. But today, I am going to do a tag, which was created by Caitlin, that Jonathan tagged me for a long time ago and then Gray tagged me for it a couple weeks ago. I'm great at this game, aren't I? :P Thanks, guys! :D


The Rules

1. Thank the person who tagged you
2. Link to the original creator
3. Answer the ten questions
4. Tag at LEAST two other YA writers/blogger

Questions

What draws you to YA?

Are you still a young adult if you're 19?? I actually don't know the exact age range for this genre (if there is one). :P I know that I was initially drawn to the YA genre because I was a young adult myself, and I liked reading books with characters my age (and I'm still that way). I still really like the YA genre. It's one of my favorites and will probably always be.

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?

Um, both? Maybe? I don't know, I've tried to do like a whole outline many times, but it never actually happens. . . :P As long as I have a general idea of what the novel is going to be about, and where it's going, I just write. I do want to try doing an whole outline sometime though.

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your writing journey?

I've been writing since I was 15. (I feel like my answer to this question has changed a couple times, but it is 15.) Where am I in my writing journey? I think I'm right where God wants me to be. I mean, ever since I made the decision to take writing more seriously, I've learned a lot. And I feel like I've learned the most since I started blogging back in January. I can't wait to see what God has in store for me. :)

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

I actually don't think I need anything. Even though I almost always have coffee and music, I can write without them (this rarely happens though :P). I prefer to have my earbuds when I write because it helps to me focus. I'm easily distracted sometimes, and unnecessary noise bothers me. It's probably one of my pet peeves. And it doesn't help that I have good hearing. :P

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN "don't give up"), what would it be?

Know why you're writing. Why do you write? Is it for God or yourself? Maybe it's something else.* But I think this is a really important question that every writer should ask themselves.

I'm planning on doing a post about this at some point. :)

What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)

I don't think there is a book. Plot twists will get me when they happen, and sometimes for a week after. But I guess I'll say The King's Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight. I'm not sure I can tell you about the plot twist without giving anything away so I just won't say anything. If you want to know what it is, you'll just have to read the series. :)

What books are you most anticipating for this year?

Well, I think most of the books that I'm looking forward to for this year have already released and I've read them: Martin Hospitality, The Reluctant Godfather, Dandelion Dust. But another that I'm really excited for is Exiles by Jaye L. Knight! I can't wait until that one comes out. :D (I'm pretty sure a lot of people have said that one :P)

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?

Oh man, that's a hard question. I guess, even though I wasn't a huge fan of the series, I'll go with the Divergent series. Other than that, I'd probably go with the Blades of Acktar also.

What is your all-time favorite quote from YA lit (I know, I'm cruel)?

This is cruel because I have many. But here's one of my favorites:

"My first choice would be to give you more god children, but that would be far too cruel to do - to them."
-The Reluctant Godfather

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?

The Blades of Acktar series by Tricia Mingerink. I think that would be super cool! (Please tell me I'm not the only one) But only if they follow the books as closely as they can, because if they change things, it just wouldn't be the same.

And that's it for this tag. The people I'm tagging are:


As always, if I tagged you, please don't feel like you have to do this tag. And if I didn't tag you but you'd like to do it, consider yourself tagged! :)


What about you? What draws you to the YA genre?
 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June Just Happened

Hello from camp! Yes, I am at camp as I write this (the actual camp I told you about last week, not Camp NaNo).

This month has gone by soo fast, guys! Definitely the craziest month so far this year. For me, anyway. :P So this past week has been staff training week here at camp, and it feels so weird when I have free time because I'm so used to having a ton and a half things to do.


Writing

Yeah, I don't think I wrote anything this month, but I did manage to prepare for Camp NaNo some. Unfortunately, not as much as I would have liked. I think I have enough to make it through NaNo though.

All of June I've been getting bombarded with new ideas for Strangers. *evil smile* It is going to be so much better after this rewrite. And, I think I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again. I am really excited to rewrite Strangers. :)

Reading

Half-Blood by Jaye L. Knight       The Reluctant Godfather by Allison Tebo                

Yes, I know. I read soo much this month. :P No, I'm actually disappointed with how much reading I did in June. I tried to fit in more reading time, but it was really really hard. But I have started two other books: Samara's Peril and Rose of the Night. I'm almost finished with the latter.

Blogging

My posts in June:

Other bloggers posts that you definitely need to read:


Other

So, like I said, June was a crazy month. But a lot of fun stuff happened! As you may have seen, I participated in my first two blog tours ever. :) Those were really fun, and actually weren't as hard as I thought they'd be.

Staff training week here at camp was the last week of June. It's been great to reconnect with my friends that I really only get to see here. We've had a ton of fun doing things together and getting ready for our campers, who are coming today! :D For those of you who don't know, I'm going to be a bunk counselor for 9-ll year old girls. :) I'm also the basketball and ultimate frisbee counselor. I'm super excited for camp! :D

Camp NaNo starts today! :D I'm also really excited for that, because I'm actually in a cabin this time! They've all been very welcoming and I'm looking forward to getting to know all of them in this next month. :) My goal is to write the first 3k of Strangers. I know, that's a low goal, but it's pretty much impossible to gauge how much writing time I'll have. Who knows, maybe I'll end up writing twice as much? That would be great. :)

The other thing that happened this month was Father's Day. For that, my family took a little trip. We hiked a mountain, which we actually haven't done in a while. Here are a couple short interchanges that took place on the hike.

(For this first one, there was a really rocky place, and the rocks were kinda big)

ME: *runs past dad up these rocks*
DAD: Show off!
ME: No, I think I'm just part mountain goat.

DAD: When you go back down a mountain, you always want a controlled decent.
LITTLE BROTHER: Hey Karyssa, you see that cliff over there? It will be a controlled decent if you hit that rock at the bottom.
ME: *laughs*

ME: *trips*
LITTLE BROTHER: Did you just trip?
ME: . . .yeah. Why?
LITTLE BROTHER: On what?! There's nothing there, the ground is flat!

After we finished the hike, I tried to figure out how many times I tripped. And, in two miles, I tripped about 20 times. I now refer to myself as "the clumsiest outdoorsy person you'll ever meet". :P

I also wrote a poem for Father's Day, and I was going to post it, but it would have been on a day that I don't normally post. I remember some of you saying that you wanted to see more poetry so I decided to share it now. Here it is:

This Man

There is this man
I really love.
He is always there
When I need him.
When I am excited
Or happy that
Something went right,
He smiles
And rejoices with me.
He holds me
When I cry,
When I am down,
Or if I just need
Someone
To lean on.
This man, is always there.
He has taught me a lot.
He is one of
The reasons
I am who I am
Today.
This man is
My role model,
Someone
I look up to.
And even though
He may have
A lot of nicknames
For me.
I will always know him
As Dad.

What about you? How was your June?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

"The Sorceress and the Squid" Blog Tour

Hey everyone! Welcome to- yup, you got it!- The Sorceress and the Squid blog tour! :D The moment we've all been waiting for has finally come. My friend, Emily Mundell, has published her first book. How cool is that?! :D Super cool, I know. ;)

Now let's get this party started!

Blog Tour Schedule graphic.jpg 
casually inserting blog tour schedule

About the Book


In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes pity on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?



About the Author


Emily Mundell is a 19 year old author, artist, horsewoman and lover of the wonders of the wide world. She hails from the Great White North of Canada and has spent her life growing up in the heart of rural Alberta in a close-knit farming community - though she has often entertained fantasies of inhabiting the Shire.

Writing is her true passion - though horses and art take a close second. With fantasy as her primary genre, Emily has been writing stories since the tender age of eight when she finished her first "book". She is currently working to complete her Creative Writing Certificate through the University of Calgary. An avid bookworm, true country-mouse, and unconventional tree-climber, Emily can usually be found on a horse, working on one of her half-dozen projects, chasing a loose cow, or being swept off her feet by the man she calls her own personal "hobbit".



The author sounds pretty cool, doesn't she? I thought you'd agree, so I have Emily here, all ready for an interview. :)

So Emily, my first question for you is, how did you discover your love for writing?

That is a tricky question. I'm not entirely sure? I've always loved stories and loved reading since I could read (and before that loved being read to), so that was certainly part of it. I wrote my first "book" when I was eight about myself, my friends and our horses so I guess I discovered this passion somewhere before then? I only wanted to write about horses back then, and I didn't spend nearly as much time on it, but I did to it so I guess that's something.

Wow you've been writing for a long time then. :) What inspired you to write The Sorceress and the Squid?

There is a long weird answer to this question! The inspiration for this story came from a late night Facebook conversation between myself and Jonathan (my then-not-yet-boyfriend-now-fiance). We were deep into the subject of his secret identity as a ninja squid who trained an academy of ninja squidlings to take over the world and yadayada. Now, clearly this isn't quite what I wrote down for my book, but the seed of the story was born from this conversation. Later, after I had become his girlfriend, it was decided that I was the sorceress who had turned him into a squid and later the next year I started writing this book. The rest is history.

Haha, what an interesting way to be inspired! :D So why did you choose to self-publish?

Good question. For most of my life I was not into the self-publishing scene at all. I had some preconceived notions about it - mainly that it was unprofessional. However, as I researched and was forced to study it for a class in college, I realized that there were actually some solid things about it, and that you could totally self-publish in a very professional manner. It just depends on who you are. Once I had that revelation, I also thought that even though I still wanted to be picked up by a publishing house one day, self-publishing my first book would help me create a platform from which to be recognized by a publishing house. These days that's basically a prerequisite for getting published anyways. So I decided to follow this through with my first novel and so far it's been a really rewarding experience. I would absolutely do it again (being traditionally published is even losing its appeal except for the wider audience reach possibilities).

Oh cool! Yeah, I used to feel the same way about self-publishing, but then I started "meeting" indie authors. :) What is your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the whole writing and publishing process?

I'm a very organized person, so I've enjoyed the marketing aspect of publishing a fair bit so far (except for all the socialization it involves). I also do enjoy writing the first draft most of the time - even if I end up ripping out my hair once in awhile. Holding my book in my hands was a great feeling as well. Some dislikes would be editing, mainly rereading the same things so much, and trying to figure out websites and their little things and being totally uncertain about what I'm doing at times. There were definitely some frustrating moments, but the rewards outshone them.

I totally agree with you. I feel the same way about all of that. Except the publishing parts since I'm not published yet. :P So what is your favorite genre to write in?

Definitely fantasy, hands down. I have been working on my own fantasy epic for eight years, almost nine and I love it. Of course The Sorceress and the Squid is also fantasy and I have a couple of other story ideas that are fantasy as well. My favorite writers are JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis and they are my biggest inspirations/mentors. CS Lewis is quoted saying, "If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." I love this quote because I think it really reflects the heart of a good fantasy story, but also - mostly importantly - reflects the Kingdom of God and the Heaven He has created for us to belong to. I think that's just so cool.

I also enjoy writing sci-fi, contemporary, and dystopian fiction - just not as much. ;)

That is really cool! C.S Lewis is one of my favorite writers too, and I love that quote. I find him to be very quotable. :) What do you do when you're not writing?

So. Many. Things. XD I'm a farmkid so I am often out feeding cows, driving tractors, moving cows, getting back a loose cow, etc. I love horses to death and spend a lot of time riding. Whether it be at home, at my barn over jumps, at my summer camp working with camp horses or working horses for friends. I can usually be located in a saddle. I'm an artist as well and I love to draw and paint (though time for that is minimal these days), and I also enjoy photography. I like being outdoors. I live in Alberta, Canada near the Rocky Mountains and love going out there for a hike with friends/family. I like to climb trees. I like to hang out with my homeschool friends and my camp friends when I can. I love being with Jonathan as much as possible. I do a lot of stuff - too much stuff!

No kidding! You must not get much sleep. My last question is, do you have any advice to give aspiring indie authors?

Advice! I am so not good at advice! :P I think the main thing is to realize that even though it's called "self-publishing" you don't have to do it completely, totally by yourself. It's okay to ask for help, to hire people to help, to ask questions of those who have gone through the process. It's a daunting task to just write a book, nevermind trying to publish it. Don't be scared to ask questions! Also, realizing that it's an awful lot of work and you really have to make your project a priority in order for it to come to fruition. And if it takes a long time, don't sweat it! My entire writing and publishing process was nearly two years, it's okay to move slowly. Be brave!

Ah, that's great advice! :D Well, that's it! Thank you so much Emily for being with us today. :)

Thank you so much for having me, Karyssa! I really enjoyed your questions! :D


And that's a wrap, people! Here are the links again, where you can check out the book for yourself. Go buy it! You know you want to. :)


Thanks for stopping by! See you next week! :)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Summer TBR + Update


Yeah yeah yeah. I know. You guys have probably had enough of the summer TBR posts that have been going around. There have been quite a few, but you're going to get another one! I know I've said in a few comments on other blogs that I don't have a TBR for the summer because I'm going to be too busy, but I noticed the other day that I actually do have one that I. . . didn't know I had? Clearly, I'm on top of this. And, no, I'm not late, because technically it's not summer until the 21st.

So here are the ten books I hope to read this summer (the first three are ones that I've started already):



1. Samara's Peril by Jaye L. Knight

Samara's Peril (Ilyon Chronicles #3)

There was a lot of excitement on GR about this series, so figured I would read it. Also, it's fantasy. I've been reading more in this genre lately, and I'm finding that I like it. This is the third book in the Ilyon Chronicles, and I started it the second week of this month (I think). But I haven't had a lot of reading time so far this month, so that's why I'm only at about 13%. It's pretty good so far.


2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2)

I started reading this about this time last year, but I got 150 pages in and then stopped. I got busy and then forgot about it. Oops. :P So I picked it up again and I'm starting over. I know a lot of people don't really like The Da Vinci Code, but my dad likes the books so I thought I'd try them. If you've read this one, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1)

Ah, yes, the book I started back in January, got halfway through, and then stopped. I feel like a lot of people really liked this book, and I was liking it, but then it got. . . kind of hard to understand? But, I did start this when I began slipping into a reading slump, so I'm thinking that may have something to do with it. :P


4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders

This book here, was recommended by Jonathan. Quite a few times actually. *whispers* I'm assuming he really likes it. I bought it back in February I think, but I still haven't picked it up. I don't know why though, because it sounds really good. This one will probably be the next one I read, right after I finish some of the ones I've already started.


5. The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)

I had never heard of the Ranger's Apprentice series until about two(?) months ago, and I was told I might like it. When I looked it up, I noticed that a few of my Goodreads friends really liked the book/series, so I bought the first one. I can't wait to start it!


6. London in the Dark by Victoria Lynn

London In The Dark (Light of London #1)

Oh my word, I've wanted to read this since it was published! I've only heard good things about it. It sounds like it might have some mystery in it, which is one of the reasons I'm really excited to read it. I do kinda have high expectations when it comes to mysteries though. I've seen a lot of crime shows and have read quite a few books. I've always loved mysteries, but yeah, high expectations.
Victoria Lynn also wrote Bound which I reviewed back in April (you can find that post here).  


7. Exiles by Jaye L. Knight

Exiles (Ilyon Chronicles #4)

This is the fourth book in the Ilyon Chronicles, which actually isn't published yet. A lot of my GR friends are excited about this book's release. (I think the release date is July 14th. So, yes, I'll be able to read it this summer.) And they've told me that I need to hurry up and read the first books before this one comes out. I think I'm doing pretty good since I'm currently reading the third book. ;P

8. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Mere Christianity

Yes, I know! I actually have a non-fiction book in my TBR! Quick thing about me: I don't really like non-fiction. And I tend to avoid it, unless it's like Christianity non-fiction or writing related.
The first time I read this one was about six years ago (yeah, I know. Long time ago :P), and I had to read it for school. I remember really liking it, and I've wanted to read it again for a long time now.


9. Storming by K.M. Weiland

Storming

And another one that was recommended by Jonathan. This book sounds super cool! I've heard quite a few good things about it, and I can't wait to read it. :D I also have a couple writing books by K.M. Weiland that I might read this summer if I have time.


10. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)

So, when it comes to the Divergent series, it seems like people either love it or hate it. I was kind of in the middle, so I decided to give this one a shot. I'm hoping it will be better than Divergent, but I'm not going to get my hopes up. :P


And that's my summer TBR! :) Now, on to the other things I wanted to say. I have three.

1) Last week, Faith over at Chosen Vessels did her Sisters in Christ post for the month of June. And I was the guest for that. :) Here's the link so you can hop on over there if you want to know more about me. In that post, I answer questions such as, what is my favorite book of the Bible and why, what are some books that impacted my young life, and what are some of my pet peeves.

2) This past Tuesday, I participated in my first blog tour, which was for the book "The Reluctant Godfather" by Allison Tebo. Here's the link for that if you want to check it out.

3) Lastly, I wanted to let you all know that when July finally rolls around, I probably won't post every week, since I'm going to have very little free time. And no, it's not because I'll be doing Camp NaNo. Although I will be doing that, the main reason I'm going to be so busy is because I work at an overnight summer camp. And I'll be there for all of July and half of August. So right now, I'm thinking I'll post every two weeks while I'm there, but if I can, I'll post more. Either way, you'll all know when I post since it'll show up in your reading list. ;P


So what about you? What's on your TBR this summer? Are you planning on reading any of these books?