Infinity Dreams Award #writerslife

Thank you to the fantastic Eve Messenger for nominating me for this  Infinity of Dreams Award. You should absolutely go check out her writerly blog, Eve Messenger’s OtherWORDly Endeavors.

Rules:

1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you
2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself
3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
4.  Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them

Eleven Facts About Me

  1. I’m terrified of big spiders and the ocean.
  2. I was born in New England, went to college in Wisconsin, but have lived in Spain most of my life.
  3. I don’t like dogs. At all.
  4. Even after I started writing novels, I wanted to be a film director. That fizzled out the year I left for college, and I graduated with my B.A. English.
  5. I’m very introverted and very pessimistic.
  6. I won my first short story contest when I was 12 years old. Mine was the only entry.
  7. Black is my favorite color.
  8. I’m a HUGE Legend of Zelda geek. Therefore, my ideal pet would be a Kikwi.
  9. I used to be into track and field, and have several medals and trophies from competitive running.
  10. Slytherin and proud.
  11. I have a moderate form of misophonia (in which negative emotions like anger, fright, hatred, disgust are triggered by specific sounds).

Questions from Eve

  1. If you had two weeks and unlimited funds, what would be your dream vacation? A trip to Iceland (I’d say New Zealand, but the long flight isn’t quite worth it for me).
  2. What was one of your favorite books as a child? The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. They still are.
  3. What was one of your favorite recent reads? Recent reads? Stardust, by Neil Gaiman.
  4. What is your dream/life’s ambition? To work from home, write books, and live a simple, quiet life.
  5. What three things would indicate you’ve achieved your dream? Uhm…a solid home office, published books, and a simple, quiet life…right?
  6. What is your favorite board/card/casino game? Scrabble or Boggle, probably.
  7. Would you prefer camping in nature or staying at fine hotel in the city? Camping in nature.
  8. If you could write like any author, who would it be and why? Like myself. I don’t want to be a replica.
  9. If you could visit any historical time period, which would you choose and why? I’ll stay put, thanks. Time travel stresses me out.
  10. Romance or adventure? There’s a difference?
  11. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Dulce de Leche for days!

I nominate…

Stephanie Gregory (blackdragon80)

Michael Gunter (michaelguntertales)

Hannah Heath (hannahheathwriter)

C.E.L. Stefani (celstefani)

Rachel Lester (waterandpen)

Elizabeth Carlton (elliwrites)

Millie Schmidt (millieschmidt)

DMG Byrnes (dmgbyrnes)

Lucy and the Duke of Wellington (blondewritemore)

Gary Dean Holdaway (writing201February2015) [you, sir, make your page hard to find!]

Autumn (browneyedgirldotcom)

My questions for you guys!

  1. What was the first story/poem you remember writing?
  2. Favorite fictional character?
  3. Coffee, tea, or neither?
  4. What’s your best time of day for writing?
  5. If you could live in one other country, which would you choose?
  6. What fictional pet would you choose? Anything goes.
  7. Do you collect anything? If so, what?
  8. What famous person (any place/time) would you choose to meet?
  9. If could hang out with a fictional character for a day, who would you pick?
  10. Favorite season (the weather kind)?
  11. What movie would you like to have starred in if you could?

If you choose to accept, have fun!

Advertisements

Writerly Plans For 2016

December is coming to a close, as is the calendar year, and it’s been a heck of a ride! As a quick recap, the year 2015 saw…

  • The (self) publication of my novel, Little One, and a short story, Judgment Wheel, which combined for nearly 1000 total downloads.
  • My college graduation.
  • The start of two brand new fantasy novels.
  • A foray into an assortment of freelance copy editing and translating jobs.
  • That small-but-sweet 2k follower milestone on Twitter.
  • The birth of You Write Fiction from the ashes of the old website/blog (as well as a staggering weekly audience growth and nearly 100 total subscribers in just a month!)
  • The chance to connect with a lot of great people…that means you!

Yep, it’s been a pretty full year. I’m really excited about starting a new one. Here’s a glimpse at the plans I have for 2016, along with a few resolutions…

Blog post reduction

Since launching You Write Fiction back in November, I’ve been posting daily. However, that’s pretty time-consuming, so I’m going to be downscaling to 4-5 posts per week.

More indie reading

One of my goals for 2016 is to read one indie book each week, totalling 52 books by the end of the year. We’ll see if my schedule and my wallet end up approving…

Fantasy novel release

A while back I announced the title of my upcoming fantasy novel, The Children of Falore. I’m working hard at it, and hopefully it’ll be on schedule for a late-April release.

Social media expansion

I’m pretty active on Twitter, and the growth has been evident, but I want to expand to other social media platforms as well. Specifically, I’ll be putting more time/effort into my already-existing Instagram account, as well as trying to get the hang of my Goodreads page once and for all. You should come join me!


What are some of your goals and plans for 2016? If you wish me luck with mine I’ll wish you luck with yours. Thanks for reading!

Why You Should Stop Reading Fiction

Fiction encourages use of the imagination

Imagination leads to ideas, and ideas are dangerous. You should be spending your leisure time on activities that don’t stimulate the power in the human mind.

Reading develops unnecessary language skills

Why expand your vocabulary, enhance your ability to express yourself, and gain higher comprehension skill levels when you can get by just as well with thing, stuff, and cool?

Fiction promotes dangerous critical thinking

The last thing society needs is for people to start questioning why things are the way they are and to realize that not everything is the way it should be. Things will be just fine if you accept the status quo and move on.

Fiction has too many layers of meaning

Why can’t people read more pop-culture magazines and viral websites that spoon-feed them what’s going on in the world? It’s the superficial aspects of humanity that really matter. Fiction tends to dig deeper and explore hard issues of life, and that makes everyone uncomfortable. It’s best avoided.

Fiction makes too many new experiences possible

People need to learn to be satisfied with the humdrum routine of an average citizen’s life. Embrace the fact that excitement and adventure are out of your reach.

Fiction exaggerates the beauty of creativity

Creativity is overrated. Why read a piece of ornate poetry or breath-catching prose when you can pick up a perfectly functional newspaper that doesn’t have all the extra flare and style? Words are meant to communicate, not evoke emotions or flow like music.

Reading is a distraction from the obligations of life

You’re busy, busy, busy. Reading forces you to sit down and catch your breath, and it relaxes your mind and body. You can’t afford that, not when you know your next alarm will go off any second and you’ll have to rush out the door again.

10 Random Writing Habits

Every writer has a particular set of habits that he/she abides by, sometimes for no clear reason. Here are ten of mine:

1 – I always write in 500-word chunks and take 5-10 minute breaks between each session.

2 – Out of all the mugs I own, only a select few are my official writing mugs. Two are for coffee, one is for tea.

mug
Ninja mug always makes sure I’m typing away at my manuscript…

3 – I switch back and forth between a desk-and-chair and a couch or recliner.

4 – I hold my breath when writing intense scenes.

5 – I never write in my bedroom.

6 – Many of my good ideas hit me during long car rides, but if I try to write on the road, I’ll be sick within 30 seconds.

7 – Every so often I’ll get a strong urge to write by hand, so I end up with notebooks full of disjointed scenes.

8 – I always edit a printed copy of my manuscript.

9 – Whenever I stop to think while writing I end up rubbing my jaw. Don’t ask why. I just do.

10 – I almost never touch my manuscript before lunch.

What are some of your writerly habits? Care to share? Drop a comment below! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to subscribe.

Keep calm and write on, friend!

Sunday Book Review – Skies of Dripping Gold

Welcome back to Sunday Book Review! Since Christmas celebrations kept me from finishing this week’s novel, today I’m giving my thoughts on a short story I read a few weeks ago: Skies of Dripping Gold, by Hannah Heath.

skies

Skies of Dripping Gold, by Hannah Heath

General Information

Genre according to Amazon: short reads (teen/young adult, christian fantasy).

Length (print): 31 pages.

How I found it: pre-order announcement on author’s website.

Amazon blurb:

In an angry, frightened world where the Poison claims many lives, a young man’s belief in Paradise has collapsed into a distant dream. Gabriel can no longer place his trust in the existence of such a place. Not when his sister’s pain continues to sap her strength. Not when prayers for her healing go unanswered.

As the Poison progresses, eating away at Lilly’s life, Gabriel sets off on a desperate climb to save her from death. Struggling to discover the truth behind a world where the skies drip gold, Gabriel tries to maintain his disbelief in God while clutching after hope for his sister’s salvation. But, as he climbs the cliff that is said to lead to Paradise, he begins to see: if he can’t bring himself to believe in a place of peace and golden skies, then how can he possibly hope for his sister’s rescue? How can he possibly hope for his own?

Amazon Rating: 4.9 stars (20 customer reviews) at the time of article publication.

My Thoughts

Caution: potential minor spoilers ahead, though I’ll do my best to not reveal the ending.

First impression: I pre-ordered Skies of Dripping Gold based on the blurb, which presented an intriguing premise, and a curiosity about Hannah Heath’s writing.

Strengths

  1. The writing: you know those authors whose writing is enjoyable to read simply based on the flow, style, and communication efficiency they pull off? Yeah. This is it.
  2. The power in brevity: as an occasional writer of short stories myself, I know how hard it is to pack both an emotional punch and/or significant content in such a short read. Heath provides both in the space of thirty pages.
  3. The emotion: if you’re not a big fan of feeling excruciating human emotions vicariously through a protagonist, this story probably isn’t for you.
  4. A relatable concept: dystopian stories often revolve around rebellions, grand escapes, and other concepts that are mostly foreign to us except in fiction. At its core, SoDG is a story about a desperate young man and his love for his sister. It’s immediately relatable.
  5. The conclusion: the end of the story isn’t what I would call very final. It doesn’t provide a definite conclusion. What it does provide is a wealth of hope for a character previously plagued by hopelessness, and it’s a wonderful ending. Also, the feels…
  6. The theme: the main idea in SoDG is faith (the pursuit or lack thereof). My main concern going into the story was that it would end up sacrificing quality to convey its message. I was pleased to see it wasn’t that way at all. The message is there, but it’s not preached to death, and it lets (or forces?) the reader to think for himself/herself.

The best: in my opinion, SoDG’s strongest point is the conglomeration of human emotions that it conveys, mostly through the protagonist, Gabriel; but also through Lilly and Cole. The story is raw, rough, and it doesn’t sugarcoat anything.

My favorite line:

As far as he was concerned, there were only two all-important laws on earth: 1. Don’t murder people. 2. Never swear in front of Lilly.

Weaknesses

Heath really puts my disbelief in a perfect story to the test. As in, I’m almost making stuff up here.

  1. For the first several pages I was confused as to Lilly’s age. I pictured her as a little girl, but it turns out she’s actually older than Gabriel. Maybe I missed an age detail at the beginning?
  2. During Gabriel’s climb of the cliff (after already making progress), the remaining distance is estimated to be 3000 feet. I’m not a rock climber, but that seems like a stinking long climb, especially when he completes said 3000 feet with a broken finger.

“Man, Nate, you’re being uber picky about this.” Oh, yeah? I’d like to see you try to find weaknesses in this story…


 

Conclusion: Skies of Dripping Gold gripped me from the start. Heath’s writing is some of the best I’ve read in a while. Elegant yet clean, purposeful, and rich. The protagonist’s emotions are real, and that’s an accomplishment for a short read. It was almost too quick of an end…almost. Masterful communication. Kudos to Hannah Heath, and I’ll be back for more!

My final rating: 5/5 stars

You can find out more about author Hannah Heath on her website.

Note: there are a handful of swear words in the dialogue. Being a Christian short story, some readers may take offense, but please don’t. They’re few, they’re mild, and they’re used for a very necessary purpose. When your sister’s dying and you’ve given up on a God that’s supposed to love you, ‘well, hot dog!’ just doesn’t cut it.


I paid for my copy of Skies of Dripping Gold and wrote this review without involvement in any exchange or deals. Thoughts and opinions are my own. Yours may differ, and that’s fine. Feel free to drop a comment below!

The Writer’s Life According To (Part 2)…Sheldon Cooper

Merry post-Christmas! In the spirit of Saturnalia festivities, I’ve decided to return to the land of gifs. You’ve seen the writer’s life according to Jack Sparrow. Now I present to you the writer’s life according to Sheldon Cooper!

giphy (6)
When someone interrupts your writing session.
giphy (5)
Leaving your characters for the night…
giphy (11)
When you find a typo in your 5th draft.
sheldon4
Writer’s block…again…
sheldon7
And when you finally break through it.
sheldon
When readers yell at you for killing off their favorite character.
sheldon6
When someone says they don’t like reading.
giphy (1)
When a friend recommends your book in front of you.
giphy (4)
Trying to be happy for other writers and their 500 good reviews.
giphy (3)
“Just because I’m a writer doesn’t mean I don’t have friends…”
(All gifs are from giphy.com)

We Three Writers – A Very Writerly Christmas!

Hello, readers! So I won’t be posting anything tomorrow (because Christmas, duh), and I’m too caught up in festivities to do anything serious today, so I thought I’d have a little fun and ‘tweak’ a classic Christmas carol. Enjoy!

We Three Writers (a parody of We Three Kings)

by Nate Philbrick 

We three writers desperate are

Just two cups of coffee so far

Passive voices, poor word choices

Everything’s under par

** ** **

O what a typo, what a blight!

Surely this the writer’s plight

Red pen bleeding, still proofreading

Yet another sleepless night

** ** **

Weak constructions causing me pain

Start the chapter over again

Draft forever, published never

When did I go insane?

** ** **

O what a typo, what a blight!

Surely this the writer’s plight

Red pen bleeding, still proofreading

Yet another sleepless night

** ** **

Half a book to finish have I

Novel pages piled so high

Adverb-razing, line-rephrasing

Twenty loose ends to tie

** ** **

O what a typo, what a blight!

Surely this the writer’s plight

Red pen bleeding, still proofreading

Yet another sleepless night

Merry Christmas, everybody! See you all after the holiday!