Q&A Tag

I was looking for something to fill today’s blog post slot when along came the wonderful Olivia from Inkspots and tagged me for this chain! So, fun stuff! You should definitely go check out her blog (and follow, while you’re at it).

Here are the tag rules, copy + pasted from Olivia’s post because I’m feeling incredibly lazy right now (post lunch coma and all that):

  • Tag the Blogger(s) who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions you were given.
  •  Nominate 10 bloggers.
  •  Let them now they’ve been tagged.

And now, the questions that will lay bare my soul…

Early bird or night owl?

Night owl. Though I’m disappointed ‘afternoon puffin’ wasn’t an option.

If you could learn a language, what would you learn?

Well, I’m already trilingual, so I’m good for now, but…if I had to add a fourth, probably French. Then Italian.

You can have two fictional characters to be your pocket pals (small enough to fit in your palm/pocket), who are they?

Artemis Fowl and Peter Parker/Spiderman. Because why not.

Favorite classic fairytale?

Classic Disney or classic original? Either way, I don’t really have one. At gunpoint, Snow White (purely because Dopey is my alternate incarnation).

Would you rather fly or have super speed?

Superspeed, without a doubt. Heights give me the upchuckies.

You have a villainous lair. What does it look like?

Underground. Plenty of water features. Moss on everything. Black-stained wood and enough secret doors and rooms to make a Minecrafter dizzy.

You have a right-hand man (or woman) in said lair. Which fictional character is he/she?

James (Team Rocket). Or Butler (Artemis Fowl series).

Dinner with an author (living or dead). Who do you choose?

Dinner with a dead author just sounds awkward. Who’s gonna pass me the butter? I’ll go with Neil Gaiman (Ransom Riggs, if Mr. Gaiman is busy).

Favorite snacking food?

I’m not that into random snack foods, but I’m developing a healthy addiction to orange juice. Not sure if that counts (I’d say coffee, but everyone knows that). Jelly beans, in a pinch. Not really food either.

Last song listened to?

Either Cry Out to Jesus (Third Day) or the Ocarina of Time startup music (can’t remember which was last. It’s been a long morning).


Okay! As is my tendency with this type of blog post, I won’t tag anyone specific because I don’t know who has or hasn’t been tagged yet. If you want to answer some fun questions about yourself, consider yourself tagged by me!

Here’s what I’ve got for you:

  1. Favorite fiction genre to read?
  2. Free weekend: would you rather stay at home and relax (alone or with a select few) or go out and make big plans?
  3. Favorite season? (Of the year, you Netflix addict).
  4. Best thing to do on a rainy day?
  5. Hardcover books or paperback books? (Don’t even try “but kindle…?” My post, my rules).
  6. Favorite speculative (fantasy, sci-fic, etc.) film?
  7. You’re stranded in a forest (no way out). What’s your best shot at getting food?
  8. Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or have camouflaging abilities?
  9. Name an animal that you’re terrified of, for whatever reason.
  10. Hugs: the solution to most of life’s problems, or a space-invading nuisance?

Have a great day, everyone!

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7 Types of Writing Days

Disciplined productivity days

Inspiration is for the weak. You get up early, set a goal, and achieve it. Interruptions, discomfort, or fatigue aren’t roadblocks – they’re hurdles, and you’re trained enough to clear them with ease and keep on writing.

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Panicked productivity days

Keyword: deadlines. You thought you’d have plenty of time. You were wrong…again. Dang it, Youtube! Time to sit down in a frenzy and churn out words like there’s no tomorrow. Which, for you, is pretty much the case.

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Chaotic cosmic intervention days

The universe has a grudge against you today. Anything that could go wrong does go wrong. The powers that be hurl everything your way: interruptions and distractions knock on your door (sometimes literally) on a rush-hour schedule. You really wanted to get work done, but life has other plans, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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Benefic cosmic intervention days

The universe has blessed you today. You had your doubts when you got up in the morning, but all the pieces fall into place quite nicely. Your tea doesn’t spill, no one interrupts you all morning, and your characters pull through once again. You cross your fingers and hope for the same tomorrow.

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“This muse is on fire!” days

You didn’t think it was possible for words to come out of your fingertips so fast. Distractions don’t even tempt you today, and if someone’s banging on your door, you won’t hear them over the sound of your muse, who sings inspiration at the top of her lungs. If all days were like today, you wouldn’t even need discipline! If only…

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Canned vegetable days

In which your brain takes on the form of the titular preserved greens, and becomes cold, lumpy, and impossible to crack open. Your word count and your energy levels are about the same: zero. And it’s not even lunchtime yet.

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“It’s going to be a long night” days

The causes of this day type are varied: inspiration, fatigue, procrastination, or deadlines can all be blamed at one time or another. Regardless, one truth remains anchored in your mind: it is indeed going to be a very late night. You go make tea. Lots of tea.

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I hope today is a good day for you. Even if it’s not, remember that tomorrow will be better (probably…maybe).

 

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

I ordered Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on an impulse after randomly watching the upcoming movie trailer on Facebook. I’d heard a lot of good things about the book, and I decided to give it a go for myself.

Don’t worry. This review is spoiler-free!

First Impression

What stood out to me the most right off the bat was the author’s voice. A seemingly effortless combination of simplicity and cleverness makes for an enjoyable experience.

Plot

When I read a book, I prefer to know as little as possible about plot specifics beforehand. Therefore, when I started Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, I didn’t really know what to expect. The first half of the book felt a little bit slow. Jacob (the protagonist), spends about a third of the book exploring his grandfather’s past before ever encountering the titular characters. That’s not to say any of it was boring (on the contrary!), it just took a bit longer than I thought it would.

Once Jacob meets Emma, Miss Peregrine, and the others, however, the pace really starts to pick up. I finished the last two-thirds of the book in about a day, which is rare for me since I have a relatively short attention span when reading novels (don’t judge me).

The photographs in the edition I bought added such a rich backdrop to the plot as well.

Characters

Jacob as a 16-yr-old protagonist works marvelously. There were a few occasions, mostly towards the beginning, where I seriously questioned his logic (it felt like the author needed Jacob to do things or go places and had no substantial motive for him to do so other than ‘it felt right’). Nevertheless, Jacob was a refreshing take on a troubled, teenage protagonist. He’s quite relatable all the way through.

The peculiar children were loads of fun as well. Emma and Millard were my personal favorites. They have such unique personalities, and the focus isn’t placed solely on their peculiarities (which is good). Enoch is creepy as heck, but hey…I won’t complain too much.

The one character I had a hard time with was Miss Peregrine herself. As a titular character, I thought she would have a much more developed identity and role within the story. I’m sure in the sequels she’ll have a bigger part to play, but in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children she’s little more than an exposition vehicle. I was disappointed by that. Also, all her dialog voice felt forced and awkward.


I’ve already ordered the sequel, despite myriad grumblings from my bank account. This is a story you simply can’t leave unfinished, and I’m glad I read it later than most because now I don’t have to wait for the sequel to be finished!

My rating: four-stars_0

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. If a bit of language and a few moments of mild graphic violence don’t bother you, I honestly think this is a must-read for readers who like fantasy with a bit of something…peculiar.

Note: after finishing the book, I rewatched the trailer. I was greatly disappointed. Visually, it looks amazing. However, for some unknown reason, one of the major characters is completely removed (or swapped for another minor character). For that, I have one question: why? If you were planning on watching the movie, I urge you to read the book first. 

In the meantime, have a great day!

 

5 Ways Writing Teaches Humility

Writing is a career for the humble. Or, as the case may be for some, writing as a career teaches humility. Here are a few of the reasons why this is true:

You will make mistakes

Mistakes are an inevitable part of writing. Whether it’s a minor plot hole in your published book or a typo in your latest tweet, mistakes remind us that nobody creates flawless art.

There is always more to learn

No matter how many books we write, our next work will be better. Improvement is a blessing and a goal, but it also keeps us from getting too smug about our current skills (at least in retrospect).

Someone will always disagree with you

That bad review will come. That upset tweet reply will come. That offended email will come. It’s only a matter of time. Writers can’t please everyone, nor should we try. At the same time, these responses can be a reality check to remind us that we’re not on top of the world yet.

The bulk of your work goes unnoticed

Perhaps the most humbling truth of all is that 90% of the work you do will never be seen, applauded, or even acknowledged most of the time. People don’t see the months and years of toil at a lonely desk. They only see the finished product, and even that gets taken for granted sometimes.

Rewards aren’t guaranteed

Even after all the work we put into our craft, writers aren’t guaranteed sales, income, recognition, or success in any measure. It’s out there, for sure, and we can take it if we’re good (and lucky) enough, but I have yet to meet a writer who chose that path out of a desire for financial or social success.


Keep your chin up, writer, and be proud of who you are and what you do. Just be ready for your own work to pull the pride-rug out from under you now and then. And remember, humility is a virtue, not a flaw. Embrace it.

In the meantime, have a great day!

Writerly Plans for Fall 2016

Hello, friends and readers!

Another academic year is underway, and the Fall season is fast approaching. It’s a period of change and transition for a lot of us, and I’m no exception. Here’s a preview of what I have in store for the remaining months of 2016.

Day jobs

Last year I started work as an online class supervisor at a school here in Sant Cugat (best city in Spain). That job kicked back to life last week, and I’m in the thick of classes already.

This Fall I’m also adding a new day job, as some of you saw on Twitter. I got a job teaching private English classes (as a second language) at an academy, so that’ll fill up a few afternoons.

Writing plans

While my beta readers are going through Where the Woods Grow Wild, I have several plans to keep myself busy. I’ve already started writing a sequel, simply because I couldn’t bear to not spend more time with my characters.

As soon as I hear back from my beta readers, however, I’ll dive into more edits accordingly. My top priority this Fall is to get Where the Woods Grow Wild perfected (in the achievable sense of the word) and published. A lot of people keep asking when it’s coming out, and my answer remains the same…soon!

Publication plans open up a lot of other boxes of things to get ready for: a release party, a book signing in town, final touches on design, etc. I’m working to have all that ready to go!


Fall is my favorite season by far. The cooler weather, rainy days with tea, and general festivities always invigorate me. I’m excited for what the following months have in store. What sort of plans do you have for the rest of 2016?

Where the Woods Grow Wild: Read Chapter One

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has finally come to lift the curtain and reveal the final installment in the sneak-peek series for Where the Woods Grow Wild. That’s right, today you get to read the first full chapter.

Today is also the day I send the whole book to my awesome beta readers. I didn’t plan the overlap on purpose, but hey, may as well lump all the nerve-wracking events into one day, right?

Well, I guess I don’t have much else to say. Thank you for your constant enthusiasm and encouragement. Click the link below to access the PDF.


Where the Woods Grow Wild (Chapter One)

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If you enjoy what you read, please feel free to share the link with a friend, coworker, family member, or that nice lady that feeds pigeons in the park. The more, the merrier! (People, not pigeons.)

In the meantime, have a great day!

The Writer’s Dictionary: An Alphabetical Sample

Amwriting (v): a hashtag commonly used on social media to indicate when a writer is most distracted.

Book (n): the physical manifestation of the writer’s soul. Not to be confused with horcrux.

Creativity (n): a nutrient absorbed from caffeine.

Dialogue (v): to argue with one’s characters.

Editor (n): a medieval torture device.

Fan (n): 1. a device used to blow papers off a desk; 2. one who habitually smells books.

Grammar (n): a semi-transparent layer of red ink applied to a manuscript.

Heroism (n): a disease contracted upon excessive exposure to destiny.

Inciting [event] (n): the first character death.

Jail (n): the result of online search history.

Kill (v): 1. to take out frustration on a character; 2. to display power and authority over one or more character(s), a common intimidation strategy.

Love (n): 1. a three-sided geometrical shape; 2. a one-sided geometrical shape.

Mentor (n): a disposable cutout figure commonly found in cereal boxes.

Notebook (n): a detachable extension of the brain.

One (n): the hardest page.

Publisher (n): an elusive deity associated with Traditionalism.

Query (v): 1. to beg; 2. to believe in Santa Claus.

Research (n): a pseudo-productive variant of procrastination.

Subplot (n): an excuse to make two incompatible characters kiss.

Typo (n): a bacteria most visible five minutes after publication.

Uninterrupted (adj): a spiritual state of being only achieved in the afterlife.

Verbosity (n): a description of weather or scenery.

Write (v): 1. to convert sleep deprivation into ink squiggles; 2. to cry.

X (n): a red symbol applied by editors to express hopelessness.

Yarn (n): a tool invented to lure cats off keyboards.

Zebra (n): a placeholder noun commonly used in alphabetical blog posts.