Sherlock Season 4 Spoilers

I’m coming just fresh off watching the last episode of Sherlock Season 4 and I’m about to spew my thoughts all over m’blog, sooooooo warning to you all if you have not watched, turn your eyes away!!!

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Things I’ve Learned, Things to Come, and New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody!

2017 is approaching and in just less than two hours, 2016 will have flitted away and the new year will be here to take its place!

I feel as though 2016 has been a very enlightening year for me. It was very… epiphany-filled. I realized a lot of things and learned a lot of this. So, as the end of the year and the new year approacheth, I thought I would share what I’ve learned!

So! Things I’ve learned in this very enlightening year! I have three main ones that have been huge, huge epiphanies.

1.Awareness 

I’ve realized this year that awareness is such an important thing to have in your life. And in particular, self-awareness. Being aware of what you do, what you say, how you behave, and especially being aware of how you are perceived by others is so so incredibly important. Why? Because if you aren’t aware of yourself, how can you ever know what to change? How to make yourself a better person?

Awareness is the first step to change.

For example, I am prone to hanger. I was not aware of this however for a while. I used to get really defensive and lash out any time anyone suggested I was cranky or irritable because I was hungry. I thought it was an implication that I was always looking for food/was a fatty. Anyways, one time after I’d gotten irritated with my mother, she asked me “Are you hungry?” Of course, I lashed out, thinking that the notion was absolutely ridiculous. Usually, I dismissed this idea immediately, but for whatever reason, I thought about this later on that day. And that was when I first even entertained the possibility that my mom was right and I had been cranky because I was hungry. And after even more thought, I realized she was right. Ever since then, I’ve become aware of my hanger and am much better at controlling my irritability.

I know that sounds like a silly story, but I really mean it. You can’t change (for either better or for worse) if you aren’t aware that you need to change.

2. First Impressions and Trusting Your Instincts

The original title of Ms. Austen’s novel that became Pride and Prejudice. Haha, I actually think about this a lot. While I do believe that first impressions can be misleading and that they can be woefully wrong, this past year, I have learned that first impressions are very important and actually say a lot about who you are as a person. I remember my 6th grade math teacher, Mr. Matson (a legend and one of my most impactful teachers), one time said that your first impressions are usually correct. I was actually surprised at the time. But you know what? He was right.

I only learned this this year. I used to feel so terrible about this when I’d meet a person and instinctively not like them, for whatever reason. Most of the time, I couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly bothered me, so I felt incredibly judgmental and mean. I know myself to get annoyed easily, to judge people easily, to be very rigid in my thinking sometimes, and it is something that I try and work on, so for a long time, I’ve dismissed any misgivings I had.

But this year, through both personal and secondary experience, I learned to trust my instincts. I’ve found that even if, at first, I can’t quite tell why I dislike a person or why a person is rubbing me the wrong way, it usually is for a reason.

Yet. You still have to remain open-minded. It’s really easy to close up and forget everything around you and only see inside your bubble. It’s a hard balance and I’m still learning how to do this, but I think it’s something really important to consider.

In other words: Trust your gut, but give the benefit of the doubt.

3. Deception Never Works

It may work for some time, but deception always fails. Always. There is a quote from Sherlock that says:

“Do you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes? However hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.”

I love this quote because it really is true. You can’t hide who you are no matter how hard you try. Who you are will always bleed through. Your true intentions will bleed through.

If you want someone to praise you, it will show.

If you are bragging about something, it will show.

If you are begging for attention, it will show.

I’ve seen many people this year–some that I know personally, some that I know only distantly–do this to some degree. But guess what? No matter how much you try and hide your true intentions, they will show.

***

They may not seem like much, but these have been huge, huge life-changing lessons for me. I don’t know how or why 2016 was such a big year in terms of epiphanies, but I’m glad for it. And I hope learning about these things will ultimately make me a better person.

So, now I’d like to share with you my resolutions. I usually post my goals here and now that I think of it, I don’t know if I’ve genuinely ever made New Year’s resolutions. Well, 2017’s the year!

1.Awareness

I’m sensing a theme… Hahah, like I said, I’ve learned this to be a very important thing and I’m still learning to become more aware of myself and how my behaviors might effect other people. I can be quite rude and callous sometimes–a lot of the times without even realizing it–and I want to change this. I know for a fact I’ve said hurtful things to my brother without thinking twice about how he might feel. A lot of this stems from my inherent belief that people don’t care what I think or say (especially when it comes to my brother), but I’ve learned that what I do and what I say do have an impact and I need to be aware of that. I’ve said some things in the heat of the moment that I regret when I think back upon them and I don’t want to say or do any more things that hurt anyone. It really won’t be easy, but that’s why I’m going to be working on this in 2017 and probably the rest of my life.

2. Be More Forgiving

And by “Be More Forgiving” what I really want to say is, “Be Less Spiteful and Petty.” Haha. Because I am. And this one is another really hard one for me. I’m not sure why I have a tendency to be spiteful and petty, but it’s there. I think it might come from stubbornness and pride?

Either way, this is something I want to get better at. Another thing I realized this year is that my mom and I are more similar that I gave credit for. I’ve always believed my mother and me to be vastly different people, almost opposites, and because of this, I believed us to butt heads sometimes. While this isn’t entirely incorrect, I’ve learned that the reason why we get into big disagreements sometimes is because we are too different in some ways, but more importantly, much too similar in other ways. For example… We are both petty and spiteful.

My mom and I had a time this year when we didn’t speak to each other and barely saw each other for an entire week because we were both so angry. Neither one of us wanted to cave and we both refused to apologize and forgive for what we had done.

I thought of this lyric from, Beauty and the Beast.

“Then somebody bends, unexpectedly.”

Hahah, in our case, neither one of us was willing to bend. And this is what I want to try and get better at. Because what did that accomplish? Absolutely nothing. It only wasted our time and energy. And especially because I love my mom and my relationship with her is something that I will keep forever (in contrast to someone I might be willing to let go.)

Anyways, this is what I want to work on. Not just with my mom, but in general. This one is going to be incredibly hard for me. Even today, I had a tough moment where I almost let anger and spite win out. Luckily, (at least today), it didn’t work. And it really was hard. But it’s possible and the more I do it, the better I’ll get!

[Note: All said and done, learning this about my mother and me was actually a very fun revelation because it was one I never would have expected! But I’m really glad for it because I can’t wait to see what it will do to our relationship!]

All righty… As I finish this post, it is now two short minutes till midnight, till the new year. I’m so grateful for all that I’ve learned this year and I can’t wait to see what the new one will bring me. New Years is one of my favorite times of year. I love the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning, of a clean slate. I am always excited by the days to come and ready for all the possibilities (no matter how cheesy that may sound).

And the clock strikes midnight!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! ❤

Let this be a good one!

Ten Things About My Writing

So I ran across this post by Lyra Selene as I was stalking various authors’ blogs and thought this was such a cool idea! I found myself thinking about these things, so I decided that I may as well post them!

1.I always brainstorm in a notebook by hand. 

I’m pretttttty sure that I could open up a document on my computer and spew my creative juices as well as I could on paper, but for some reason (perhaps habit? Probably because I really like notebooks and pens!) I like brainstorming by hand. It usually is just a stream of consciousness about whatever idea is harping at me the most that day. It’s very unorganized and really just an explosion of chaos. Sometimes I have multiple book ideas in a single notebook because I’ll write down whatever comes to mind. I never really go back and read what I’ve written, but getting it down on paper and the acting of writing it seems to help fine-tune what I’m thinking!

 

2. I usually outline extensively, but after the outline is written, I hardly look at it again. 

Hmm… Not sure why this is?? I think the only exception to this is for my current book, Fox Story! I actually did have to go back and see what I had planned while I was drafting. However, I think this is because my outline was sparser than it usually is (which was definitely intentional!) and because I was trying out Leigh Bardugo’s method of drafting, which had me moving along my outline faster than I usually do (which was also intentional!)

 

3. Sometimes I like music, sometimes I don’t. 

Depending on what kind of mood I’m in, I’ll either write to music or write in silence. I’m not sure why I want music sometimes and not others, but it seems to come in giant spurts. I’ll go for a long time listening to music and then suddenly, I’ll switch to writing without any music for a long time. (Not sure what triggers the switch?)

 

4. I rarely listen to instrumental music

For the most part, I usually like listening to music with lyrics. Not that I have anything against instrumental music or soundtracks, but… I don’t know. I think it’s easier for me to connect to music with words in them. A phrase or a sentiment that I hear in the song will strike an emotion in me that I’ll become obsessed with. I know a lot of people find songs with lyrics distracting to write to, but I’ve never quite had that problem. (Haha, if anything I’ll just sing while I’m writing).

I think the one time I used instrumental music was the waltz from Howl’s Moving Castle (which is an AMAZING piece, by the way) when I was writing my Peter Pan Story ages back!

*SIGH* I LOVE this music!!!!!! *heart eyes*

 

5. I only ever use one song on repeat during a writing session.

Something about hearing songs switch REALLY distracts me. So I only ever listen to a song on repeat while I’m writing. Hence, this:

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Hahaha, and I also end up using A LOT of Taylor Swift for my writing! (And in case you were interested, I listened to Out of the Woods while drafting my Beauty and the Beast retelling and Style for my Faerie Story!)

 

6. I like different songs for drafting vs. revising.

This is actually a very new revelation for me (and who knows! I could be wrong or it could change–we’ll have to see!). I only just noticed I like to use songs that really draw out the emotion of the story when I am drafting but I tend to favor songs that have nothing to with my story when I am revising. For example, when I was drafting my Fox Story, I used Red by Taylor Swift (yup! Another T-Swift song >.<), which totally gets the pain and angst of my story, but now that I am revising, I am obsessively listening to Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy, which I LOVE, but let’s face it, it has NOTHING to do with my story.

(By the way, I’ve been trying to use the emotions in the song Red for the longest time! I’ve always wanted to use it for a story and I didn’t plan on using it for Fox Story, but it turned out to be a good fit, so YIPEE!!!)

And here they are, in case you wanna take a listen!

 

7. I don’t start truly loving a story until revisions.

You know how you’ll ask authors “What is your favorite part of writing?” and you’ll hear them say, “I love that moment when everything comes together!” I honestly had NO IDEA what those authors were talking for the longest time. I’d hear it again and again, but not really know what they meant and I’d think they were crazy. But I finally, finally understood when I got far enough my revisions in Faerie Story.

For the longest time, I was so scared and worried because every single step of the writing process was so absolutely grueling and felt like pulling teeth and I thought there was a very big possibility that I might actually hate writing. It wasn’t until I completed the third rewrite of Faerie Story that I felt, Yes! It’s finally coming together. I mean, it was still SOOOOOOO far from being a Good Book, but wow! That moment hit me and I finally saw the shape of story taking place. It’s definitely the most exciting part of writing for me. Honestly, everything up until that point is SO HARD and I have to fight to keep writing. But man! Once it started coming together, I was so excited to write each and every day. I didn’t have that Fear and the ugly procrastination that comes with The Fear. I was so motivated and I actually wanted to write and that was such an awesome feeling.

 

8. The most difficult part of the writing process is the Second Draft. 

Not only are my second draft usually complete rewrites, but wow, the procrastination kicks in HARD during this phase. And this is what I have to battle with the most during this draft. Luckily, I know this is a phase now. When I was revising Faerie Story and rewriting it for the third time, I was so frustrated with myself because I would procrastinate so hard and do anything I could to avoid writing. It took me months and months to finish that draft because of it (hence my extreme annoyance with myself) when it should have taken me about three. The strange part is, once I started writing and got in the groove, I had a pretty good time writing! So I have no idea why I had to fight that I DON’T WANT TO WRITE bug so bad.

But it really does help that I know it’s a phase now–The Second Draft Syndrome, if you will. Like I talked about above how I was scared that I didn’t even like writing? Yup! The third draft of Faerie Story was when I was very concerned that writing would always be awful and never get better and why was I still doing this???? The motivation is REAL low and the procrastination real high during this point–a bad combination! But now I know this is just a phase and it, too, will eventually pass! And that more than anything else, has helped me so much as I revise Fox Story right now!

(Oh by the way, the third draft of Faerie Story is what I consider my real Second Draft because I basically wrote two first drafts of Faerie Story because I misunderstood what revising was and what it required–anyways, I digress! That is a story for another day!)

 

9. I’m no longer afraid of rewriting.

When I first began writing (poor, wee thing I was!), I was SO afraid of rewriting. I would do anything in my power to prevent that from happening, which (surprise!) was very difficult because most of the words that I write are PURE CRAP and have to be rewritten (multiple times!)!! I’d try to piece together broken fragments, hoping somehow I could mash them into a book before giving up and realizing there was no way around it. But now, I’ve accepted that I will most certainly have to completely rewrite my first drafts and possibly many drafts after that! I’m no longer scared of this! I think this is one of things I am most proud of! It’s one of those things that makes me see how far I have come as a writer and I’m really so so excited and proud! I truly believe that had I known how hard writing was when I first began to even think about writing a book, that I would never have attempted it. It’s actually a good thing I was arrogant enough to believe I could write a book and that it would be easy (MUAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!! *laughs at former naive baby writer self*!!!!) It’s shameful to me that I would have walked away from this because it’s hard–because that really is the laziest, lamest reason to not do something–but that’s the truth! And while I have a long, long way to go in my writing journey, I’m so very glad for how far I have come!

 

10. My ideas have shifted and evolved very much since I first started writing. 

It’s hard for me to say exactly how they’ve shifted and changed, but they most definitely have. I do think my ideas have become more sophisticated (God that sounds SO pretentious, but I SWEAR, I don’t mean for that to sound so hoity-toity/self-congratulatory!! It’s just a statement!) and perhaps a bit less conventional (though for the most part, I think my ideas are all fairly commercial)???And I also think that I had less things I needed for an idea at the beginning. I would just get that Spark and that was that! Lately, I’ve been getting more ideas that I call “Dull Ding” ideas, meaning… it’s an idea without any Spark, an idea that seems really cool, but is missing that extra OOMPH. And honestly, it’s just a matter of time, waiting for the Spark to hit. I’ve also been getting a lot of emotions/series of emotions that I want to use in a book, but have no context or plot to support them yet. Or I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten more ideas that grow from a character than I have in the past, as opposed to ideas rooted from plot. For example, I somewhat recently got the feeling of a girl that was binge-eating everything in sight. She throws up and with tears in her eyes, continues to eat. I don’t know if that will ever become a story or it will simply remain a flash of an idea, but I really love it and feel for that girl. Her sadness and loneliness and self-loathing is strangely lovely to me and calls to me and I hope that with the right Spark, it’ll be come a fully-fledged Idea. 😀 😀

Wow. Sorry, that answer was very all-over-the-place and all kinds of incoherent… O__O !!!!!! Anyways, haha, I guess there’s at least some insight???

 

Hey! I talked A LOT about music, didn’t I?? Hahah, that’s fairly ironic considering I don’t think of music as a necessity in my writing process. Anyways! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this! This isn’t a tag, per se, but I think this is such a fun blog post that I’m going to force–AHEM, I MEAN ASK–my lovely CPs, Janella and Amanda to do this with me!!!!

WOO PASSING ON THE BATON!!!! 😀 😀 😀

Thank you, as always always, for reading my weird ramblings!!!

Snowflakes and Updates

Hello, my dear sweet blog!

Today was a good day!… (I didn’t have to use my AK)… Hahah JK (hey, that rhymes!!!)! Funny story–I don’t listen to Ice Cube (or really rap in general, excepting Eminem), but because of this scene from one of my favorite shows ever, Happy Endings:

I got introduced to this song and naturally began singing it (because I always get songs–especially from sitcoms–stuck in my head and the urge to sing become too much to resist… plus, I guess according to my mom, I’m always being loud and singing anyways… haha..). Haha, well, my brother (who’s a hardcore rap maniac) walked past and heard me singing and did the BIGGEST DOUBLE TAKE EVER. After a brief silence, he was like, “ARE YOU SINGING ICE CUBE?” Of course, I didn’t know this song was by Ice Cube, so I just shrugged and said, “I don’t know!” Ha… Anyways, I’m finding that this story is getting rather long and also it’s not that funny… Hehe, I guess you just had to be there??

OH BOY! Let me get to the point of this post now! So today was a good day! Here are some things I did!!

  • Took Husker Pups to her doggy training class and she graduated today! Yeeeeee!!!!
  • Went running with a friend, had lunch, and then had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte! (Technically this was yesterday, but whatever, it was still fun!!)
  • Went up into the mountains to take some pictures with said friend!
  • Slipped and fell in mud!
  • Hugged a tree and got white chalky stuff all over me (I was wearing all black!)
  • Stepped in dog poo
  • Sent Leigh Bardugo a long, fangirly email
  • Finally decided to write this blog post

That’s the gist of it! Like I said, it was a good day, despite all the stepping-on-dog-poo stuff that went on. Can you believe it? This is the second time I stepped in dog poo with that same friend! I raged real hard as my friend laughed her head off. Hahah, okay, I laughed too, because it was kind of funny, but it was also SUPER DISGUSTING and we both wanted to barf. The worst part of it is, we went up to Little Cottonwood Canyon, which has VERY strict regulations that do not allow any dogs up there due to watersheds. Like, you can’t even have dogs in the car up there! It was supposed to be a safe space!! So during my rage, I was like, “WHO BROUGHT THEIR DOG UP HERE?? I’M GOING TO REPORT THEM!!!”

(Hahah, I don’t even know who to report them to, much less how they would ever determine who is to blame… But ya know, when you’re in the heat of the moment, you just say a lot of stuff, haha).

WOW, LOOK HOW MUCH I DIGRESS. Well, I guess it’s because this is such a random post, but I do have some things that I want to report!

Sooooooo… in my previous post, I talked about how I was embarking on this crazy plan to finish a draft in like three weeks or something (D-Day equaling the release of Crooked Kingdom). While I still concede it was a Crazy Plan, it turns out it was for moot because I ended up not starting drafting.

MERRRRHHHHH.

You see, the reason I decided to start drafting is because I had stalled out completely on brainstorming. I didn’t know what was going on, or how to get the brain wheels turning again, but it just was not working. So after feeling very unproductive for a few weeks, I decided that maybe drafting would jumpstart my brainstormy, idea-rolling feelings. I mean, I wasn’t making any progress with brainstorming/outlining anyways, so why not try drafting and see what it does? Well, it turns out I had more brainstorming juice left in me than I thought! Once I got the ball rolling, it really started going.

A big part of me hates writing this post because it makes me look like a flake. And one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is flaky people. I need–absolutely need— to be able to trust people to follow through. If you say you want to have dinner tomorrow at 5pm, I most certainly expect you to be there. If you say you want to watch a movie, you better not cancel on me thirty minutes before. Better yet, you better not stand me up. Ha… Stuff like this has happened to me quite often by those who I considered friends, so I really, really, really dislike flakes/flaking.

(To be clear–of course, I 100% understand that things sometimes come up and it requires you to cancel! I’m talking about the chronic, reliable flakes!)

Failing to follow-up on my last post makes me feel like a flake and I really hate it. But I know that it was the right choice. I’m so glad the brainstorming juices started flowing again and I’d rather wait until I have a more solid outline in place before I start drafting. So, yeah. I didn’t draft. But I don’t feel bad about it.

Onwards and upwards, right?

On the bright side, this might have been for the best because I managed to find a copy of Crooked Kingdom in the wild a few days before its release date. I mean, that would have been absolute TORTURE not to be able to read it until I was done drafting.

So here’s the new plan!! The new plan is actually the old plan! Before my brainstorming rut, I had planned on drafting October and this is what I want to do again! I’ve got a much better, solid outline in place now. I’ll spend the rest of this coming week brainstorming and outlining some more and come Monday, October 3, 2016, I will start my first draft of Fox Story!

My goal: I would really, really love it if I could finish this draft within a month. I’m going to try my very best to meet this goal, but in the back of my mind, I know I’m going to be busy with school, work, and volunteering, so I’m going to (try to) not to be too hard on myself if this doesn’t happen.

Well, dear blog, I think that’s it for me today! I’m excited to start this new story and the itch to write has been creeping up on me the last few days, which is always a fun, fun feeling!

Thank you for reading!!! 😀

ERIN OUT!

 

Pokemon Go Book Tag!

Pokemon Go is the RAGE lately and since I haven’t tried it out myself yet, I don’t quite “get” it. However, I’ve been told by my mother and brother that it is totally up my alley and that I would easily get addicted to it! I don’t know why I resist these things! I didn’t get a Snapchat for a while because I was driven away by the hype of it all, but it turns out that it’s mighty fun and I LOVE it! Haha… Anyways, I’m digressing…

My lovely friend Katy tagged me in the Pokemon Go book tag and as a Pokemon lover myself, I’m so excited for this one!

Rules a la Read at Midnight:

Nil! A linkback is appreciated, but not required. Feel free to use the graphics. Tag people or don’t tag people, just have fun!

YAY!!!! LET’S GET STARTED!!!!!

(Note: I didn’t do all of the tags listed on Read at Midnight, but if you want to take a look at all of them, it’s on the website!)

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I didn’t become an avid reader until I was in the fourth grade and my friend suggested I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle! I read this one in just three days, which at the time was a neck-breaking pace for me! I had never been sucked into a book like this one and it changed my life forever! Before this book, I didn’t particularly love reading, nor did I hate it. A Wrinkle in Time is the book that got me into reading!

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Doi. Harry Potter. I know I’ve said this already, but I literally don’t go more than a few months without reading Harry Potter in some form. Lately, I’ve been addicted to the audiobooks read by Stephen Fry! (OMG he is brilliant and I love his voice so much!)

Another classic is, of course, Jane Austen. I love her books. My favorites are Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. I recently watched Austenland (a movie based on Shannon Hale’s novel of the same name) thanks to my boo Janella and LOVE IT! And of course, now it’s gotten me all in the Austen mood!

Speaking of Shannon Hale… Goose Girl remains one of my favorite books ever! It’s another one of those books that changed my life!

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I would have to go with Game of Thrones. Those books are MASSIVE. And as much amazing stuff I’ve heard about it, I’m not sure I completely want to read them.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is another one I haven’t yet read because of the size, but I’m determined to find the courage one day!

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Oh boy. Where to even start. I’m TERRIBLE at putting books down (or tv, or movies, or anything else addicting). I would have to go with The Hunger Games. I read this on January 19th, 2009 (which I only remember so specifically because it was a friend’s birthday and also MLK Day!) and I stayed up late even though I had school early the next morning and knew I would regret it!

Another one is Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat. It was one of those rare books that I had decided I would stay up the night for. Oh! And also Truthwitch by Susan Dennard, which I read all in one night! UGHHHHH SOOO GOOOD!!!!!

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OMG SO EASY! Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows. I can’t even tell you how much I love these two characters. I am forever mad at Katy for saying that Kaz could die and that Inej is too good for Kaz!!! *clutchy face* Okay, she does have a point, but STILL!! KATY HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME??? I’m dying as I wait for Crooked Kingdoms. But I will love Kaz and Inje forever!

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Hmm… I know I notice slow-paced reads, but I don’t notice fast-paced reads that much… I think I’ll go with Truthwitch again, which I have been told by friends is a fast-paced read (though, hehe, I didn’t really notice it myself!) Or maybe The Hunger Games again? That one definitely read fast!

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HAAAAAAAA! This is actually one of my biggest pet peeves. I HATE it when I see more and more and yet more books being added to a series that I thought was supposed to end. I very much like getting a conclusion and knowing that one day, I will put a book down and that will be all. I’m also not a fan of spin-offs that seem to sprout endlessly. Again, I like seeing new ideas and new worlds from authors, books, tv shows, etc, and when I see the same thing over and over again, I get tired of it.

So the answer to this is: NOTHING.

(Hahah, and sorry for the extra dose of vehemence. I am just VERY PASSIONATE about this topic!!!)

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Six of Crows!!! The first time I read this book, I don’t know… Maybe I was reading at the wrong time, maybe I just needed more time to process, but I didn’t LOVE it. I liked it just well enough, but I didn’t feel that burning passion. However, I re-read it just a few weeks ago and OMG IT KILLED ME. It’s rare that the second time I read a book blows me away more than the first, but Leigh Bardugo has done it (and if anyone could have done it, it was Leigh!)! I’m now so so so in love with this book and I don’t think LOVE is a strong enough word to describe how I feel about it. I’m absolutely over-the-top blown away and I have such strong, intense feelings for this book (and Leigh). I don’t understand how I read this the first time and didn’t die. It’s so weird.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is another book that took me by surprise. I picked it up on a whim when I saw it on display at the bookstore because I’d been seeing it around so much. Nevertheless, I didn’t think I would like it that much but… OH MY GOODNESS. It was FABULOUS. I got sucked in from the very first chapter and it is one of my favorite books now! I cannot explain how gloriously good it is! I immediately shoved it into any book nerd’s arms I could find!!! (Oh and if YOU haven’t read it yet, YOU BETTER!!!!!!)

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Hmm… Another hard one… I think I’m fairly good at staying on top of reading hyped books, but maybe To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han?? I’ve been meaning to read that one for a while now and I’m super excited since it features a Korean main character!! Yay!!!

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OOH!!!! I’m very excited for Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I’ve been hearing some excellent, excellent things about it and it sounds like a phenomenal read with amazing Night Circus vibes!

I’m also excited to read The Reader by Traci Chee, which I have heard has gorgeous writing, much like Renee Ahdieh (AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!).

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OOH!!!! Leigh Bardugo, Susan Dennard, Marie Rutkoski, and Renee Ahdieh would probably be my auto-buy authors! I love them all so much and trust them to write amazing stories that I will no doubt fall in love with!!!

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I would probably have to go with Kristin Cashore! I LOVE her Graceling series, particularly Fire, and am eagerly awaiting her new book!!! And I haven’t been waiting forever in terms of actual time, but I CANNOT wait for new books from Renee Ahdieh and Marie Rutkoski now that their series have ended. And as I said before, I’m DROWNING in the anticipation of Crooked Kingdom and where is Windwitch already?? SO EXCITED for all these authors!!!!

 

WHEEEE!!! That was so much fun and it actually went SO FAST! Yay!!!

Hope you guys had as much fun as I had!

And I’m going to tag my friends Mic, Michelle, and Janella!!!

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OMG guys… Remember how I was flailing about how I love the whole marriage trope in my blog post the other day?? Remember how I was like, “huh, I want to do an arranged marriage trope in one of my books!”?? Well, guess what–I ALREADY  HAVE–not one–but THREE books that have an arranged marriage in them. Hahahah!! OMG, it made laugh because I had completely forgotten I had three ideas for marriage books and here I was thinking, “I can’t believe I haven’t thought of a marriage trope idea, yet!”

But haaaaaa. I feel I must document my silliness, so that’s what this post is!!! There really is no other point 🙂

Well, I guess I’m done now! 😀 See ya later!!

 

INTERVIEW WITH MY BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED AND AMAZING CP JANELLA WHO RECENTLY GOT AGENTED!!!!!!!!!

DID YOU HEAR THE NEWS??? Because I feel like I’ve been screaming/yelling/crying/fangirling about it for days!!!!!! Well, if ya haven’t heard yet, guess what… MY BEAUTIFUL AND MAGICAL AND LOVELY AND AMAZING AND TALENTED CP Janella signed with her agent!!!! The amazing Thao Le!!!!!!!

(Sorry for all the shouting, but I’m super excited and also, I’ve been watching Parks and Recreation like a maniac and seemed to have imbibed some of Leslie Knope’s energy–and perhaps also some of Craig’s…)

 

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Seriously guys, Janella is such an amazing person who has been nothing but friendly and supportive since I met her (and is also super hilarious–bonus!) She was one of my very first writing buddies EVER and I’m so lucky and grateful that we met and that she lets me read her work! She works crazy hard on her holy-crow-so-amazing books and I’m so happy for her because it is 1000000010% deserved!!! I’m just so incredibly amazed that I can call her my friend!

Anyways, read it about how she got her agent here in this amazing post Janella wrote!!!! But onwards!!! Since Janella is soooooo amazing and such, I thought it would be super cool if we did a little interview with her and guess what?? SHE SAID YES!!!! Haaaaaa, I’ve rambled quite enough, so let’s get to the real good stuff!!

 

1. Soooo, Janella, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you write!!! 😀 

Oh boy, you hit me with the hard one first. Okay, basics then: I recently graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, I’m deeply in love with the color red, and I’m a Massachusetts native (which means I most definitely run on Dunkin). YA books pretty much saved me when I was in junior high and throughout high school. When my love for writing grew, I just knew without hesitation that those were the books I wanted to write. YA was always it for me when it came to my publishing studies and my writing pursuits. More specifically, most of my stories and ideas are geared toward the speculative side, because I just can’t resist throwing in elements of magic and impossibility into my writing. I also have a few ideas in other genres simmering in the back of my head that I hope to write one day! We’ll see (:

2. When did you start writing? (Rumor has it you started out writing some fan fiction?? *raises eyebrows*)

The rumors are true! I feel like I’ve always been imagining and coming up with stories all my life, but writing truly became my obsession when fanfiction entered my life. Harry Potter fanfiction, to be exact—and a tribute to my other love, Veronica Mars, as well. I was always a Marauders Era kind of girl, which meant that Jily was my leading OTP, and also that I had the power to make Peter Pettigrew just conveniently disappear from the page…

I was around 12 years old when I started writing and posting, and to receive reviews and encouragement (as well as the occasional life-hating troll remarks) always kept me writing more and coming up with new stories. Aside from fanfiction, I was also heavily reading YA at the time, so most of my earlier attempts at original novels just read as very familiar to what was already out there, and thus, were rightfully abandoned. But I owe so much to fanfiction because of how it really began my writing journey—and I also owe a lot to those failed projects as well because while they fizzled out, they helped me challenge myself to find my own voice and branch out my own original ideas away from what was already out there.

3. What’s your daily writing routine like? 

Because I’m still in the midst of job-hunting (fondly known as the Tenth Circle of Hell), I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of time devoted to writing right now. The schedule varies, but I usually spend most of the morning writing and coffee-guzzling, take a non-writerly break in the middle, and then return to writing later in the afternoon and until evening. But even when I’m not in front of my computer or notes, I’m constantly daydreaming and brainstorming until it feels like I’m never ever fully away from my writing.

4. How many books did you write before you got an agent?

I’ve completed just one other book before writing “the book” that got me my agent.

5. What was the hardest part about querying?

For me personally, it’s how little control you have in the process—and I know this applies to every step in trying to get published. But with querying, it can be especially soul-sucking at times. Although the writer has the control over when it comes to the act of sending the queries and how to react from the responses, there is no control over the whens or the whys. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself having a bad day…and then getting two rejections in a row can make it even worse. Some people may love your story, but just not love it enough. It can instill a lot of doubt in yourself when there are so many things you can’t control, but you just have to keep chugging along despite the obstacles. Hope for the best, but also be prepared for the bad because it’s all part of the package that is the journey to publication.

6. How did you know you found the right agent? 

I’ve always been a huge fan of Thao! No exaggeration. Even back in the early stages of my publishing research, Thao was constantly at the top of my list, and I always seemed to gravitate toward her when it came to narrowing down which agents I felt I could really vibe well with. Her social media presence and personality are stellar, her clients are wonderful, and every time I glanced at her MSWL, I was always floored that the sort of stories she was looking for corresponded with the ones I dreamed of/already had plans for writing. I thought I’d blown it when I queried her with my first novel and was later rejected—but when I queried her with my second novel, thinking it a better fit, I was shocked that she showed interest in seeing it. I feel like I knew all along I would’ve loved to work with her, but I didn’t really know just how much until we finally had The Call. Her approach, vision, and editorial notes for my story all told me that we would make a great match, and I feel so lucky to have her with me now on my writing journey.

7. How did you celebrate signing with an agent?

Lots of crying and trying to convince myself that it all wasn’t some hysterical dream my brain had cooked up. Then later, when I finally composed myself and was convinced that everything that had just happened was real, I celebrated with wine, chicken nuggets, and kdramas.

8. What’s your advice for writers out there slogging it in the query trenches?

For querying writers, start a new project! This really saved my sanity when I was going mad from all the lows and the waiting. You really just need something to keep your imagination up and running, and to distract you from checking your inbox a million times a day. There is no better cure for this than throwing yourself into another story and feeling that writer’s high again. And hey, when you do get that call from the agent and he/she asks if you have any other projects in your arsenal, you can tell them all about the fabulous new manuscript already in the works 😉

But my biggest piece of advice for any writer—querying or not—is to hang in there and always write for yourself. Don’t write against a clock, don’t write to get an agent, don’t write for the hope of becoming super rich and famous. Ambition is a fantastic quality to have and can really keep you afloat in this sort of industry—but when you start to approach writing as just a means to an end, then that’s a red flag. I went into the query trenches accepting that this book may not be The Book. It’s not a fun thought, but it’s realistic. And in the end, what mattered most to me was that I truly loved writing it, and had given it everything I had because it meant so much to me. You may not always get exactly what you want in return when you enter those trenches, but it’s okay. We all fail—before, after, and during—but there are also rewards to those downs if you’re willing to see them. Just love your manuscripts and your writing selflessly, and you’ll always find the strength to try again and keep getting back up.

 

EEEEEE!!!! Everyone give a big round of applause to Janella for these lovely (and freakin’ inspiring) answers!!!! Thank you so much, Juju Bear for answering these questions for me!!!!!! YOU’RE THE BEST!!!!!

Thanks for reading everyone and putting up with my incessant rambling and one too many exclamation points!!! NOW EVERYONE GO CONGRATULATE JANELLA!!!!!! ❤