30 Questions & Answers About My W.I.P.

Recently I was tagged to do a #WIPjoy blog post. For those who don’t know #WIPjoy (as far as I know, since I’m new myself) is a Twitter tag wherein writers share insights and behind-the-scenes info about their works-in-progress via daily questions and answers. I’d rather not spend a whole month answering those questions on Twitter, but I thought doing a blog post would be fun, so here we are!

Thanks for the tag, @ateawithtumnus and @socalscribbler! Go check out their blogs for more fun writing content.

#1 Introduce your WIP…

My w.i.p. these months is a fantasy/adventure novel titled Where the Woods Grow in Flames, a sequel to my December 2016 release Where the Woods Grow Wild.

#2 Why does your protagonist pull at your heartstrings?

Martin’s a simple guy trying to do simple things, but they don’t stay simple for long, and it’s his struggle to lead his friends through difficulties and manage more…personal aspects of his life that establishes that connection for me.

#3 How do you get to know your characters?

By writing. That’s how they tell me who they really are in their own time and in their own way. You can’t force it.

#4 Share a line about your premise!

I think this exchange between Martin and Mayor Clarenbald sums up the premise quite nicely:

“More will come, you know, and we have to be ready.”

“Ready? Ready. Yes, ready. We should be. I can only do so much, though. People say I’m a reasonable mayor, and I tend to agree, but I don’t know what to do when monsters like these roam my streets. It’s not natural, and I only deal with things that are perfectly natural, like festivals and luncheons and petty squabbles among neighbors.”

#5 How easy is this WIP to write?

It’s a sequel, so most of the characters are already established. That makes the creation process simpler. However, it’s been a bumpy ride as far as the plot. A lot of hard things happen, and I want to maintain a balance of positive/negative. It’s a challenge.

#6 Which character is hardest to write?

Illo. Fans of Where the Woods Grow Wild really liked her, but in the sequel…let’s just say she goes through a lot. She’s definitely getting a lot of character development.

#7 Tell us about you and your work!

I write (generally) light-hearted fantasy stories, focused more on simple adventures than on epic wars or stuff like that. I’m snarky and sarcastic, both in writing and in person. In December 2016 I released Where the Woods Grow Wild, which has been my favorite novel project so far!

#8 Who is your protag’s best friend?

Martin’s best friend is Elodie Tuck, the mayor’s mischievous courier and co-protagonist in the book.

#9 How did the main characters meet?

Martin and Elodie have known each other since they were born, having lived all their lives in the small town of Bardun Village. Their friendship started when a shy nine-year-old Martin semi-successfully delivered a fistful of flowers to Elodie’s house.

#10 Anyone suffering from a broken heart?

Not yet.

#11 Share a line about love or hatred…

“[He} may have put on some weight, and he may have lost his memory, but if I’ve learned anything about him today it’s that he still loves you, and he can still be brave if it’s for you.”

#12 What was your protagonist’s past like?

Rather dull, to be honest. Martin spent his whole life in Bardun Village, and that’s not exactly the most exciting place to live. His mother left him to find work in the neighboring town and has yet to return. It’s a good thing he has Elodie to keep him on his toes.

#13 What’s a message about relationships in your book?

Relationships can be (and are meant to be) pure and based on mutual edification. Physical attraction is not the basis for a relationship. It should never be a driving factor.

#14 Which characters get along worst?

Probably Illo and Podgin. They’re friends, but they have a terribly cranky and sarcastic way of going about it.

#15 At its best, my WIP’s dialogue is…

Witty and snarky while still driving the characters towards deeper connections.

#16 I love how I describe things when…

The description flows along with the action. I prefer not to stop and describe objects/people. I want my description to be subtle, almost invisible, while still painting a vivid and palpable picture.

#17 I love how I depict characters because…

They’re different from each other, and that makes for a lot of entertaining interaction. They all developed naturally, some more willingly than others, but I really feel like I’m working with real people.

#18 Share an example of your best prose!

I mean, it’s a first draft still, so I’d hardly call this ‘best prose’, but it’s a short passage I had some fun with…

Later that night, as the moon framed the clock tower bells, the Cabbage Cart Inn received an unexpected visitor. He crept along the path from the main road and reached for the brass knob on the front door, only to find the place locked. Not to be deterred, he snuck around to the back and fiddled with the rickety door there. Bolted as well.

He explored the whole perimeter of the building, making sure to stay well away from the pig pen, before finding a window he could pry open. Sneakily, cleverly, he stole up onto the sill and slipped through the crack without making a sound.

Then he tripped on his own feet, fell, and landed in a shallow pan with a metallic thump.

“Oh dear.”

The pan, having been placed at the top of a precarious stack of its kin, slid from its position with its newly acquired passenger. The ensuing avalanche of pans, pots, and cooking utensils created such a clanging commotion that Bramble huddled on the floor in a trembling mass until the last bouncing spoon came to rest.

“Oh dear.” He grabbed his floppy ears and yanked hard. “Mustn’t make a peep.”

He waited, small and invisible in the kitchen’s shadows, his blinking eyes the only evidence he was even there. No footsteps ran his way, and no one pointed and yelled at him, so he scooted to his feet and made for the door. His button nose prodded the air, and his face puckered.

“Mustn’t breathe the stinky-stench. Mustn’t turn into an onion!”

#19 I love my world/setting because…

The contrast between a very simple village and a very wild forest makes for some fun plot-play. The village forces me to focus on a smidge of reality, while the forest allows my imagination to go ham.

#20 The relationship I root most for is…

Martin and Elodie, because I love them both to death and because the alternative is Podgin and his truffles.

#21 I’m most impatient to hear reader reactions to…

Some of the plot twists/reveals I’ve got in store. It’s a sequel, so a lot of the groundwork is already laid for some pretty special moments. (What, you thought I’d tell you something specific?)


From the protagonist’s (Martin’s) point of view…

#22 Describe yourself in five words:

Clumsily determined. Traditional. Uhm…attached?

#23 One thing you’d change in your past?

Having my hand back wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. But I’ve learned to live without it.

#24 Favorite ways to relax?

Anything away from the Cabbage Cart. Probably with Elodie. Walks through the clover fields or trading secrets in the apple orchard.

#25 A line you were proud to say:

I know the one, but I haven’t said it yet. I still have to rehearse a few hundred more times in my head before it’ll come out half-adequately.

#26 Tell us about where you live:

I live in a small, bare room over the Cabbage Cart kitchens. It’s not so bad once the evening cools off and the onion fumes roll out the window.

#27 Do you sympathize with (or relate to) the antagonist?

On a good day, I pity him. Don’t get me wrong, I wish he’d never interfered with our lives, but I think, way down, that I understand him. Just a little bit.

#28 What are you self-conscious about?

Ehem. My missing hand. My clumsy way of doing tasks that others don’t think twice about.


Back to the author (a.k.a. me)…

#29 How long do you expect to be working on this WIP?

A few more months, at least.

#30 What do you hope touches readers the most in the story?

The end. I’ll be wrapping up all loose ends, and I think a lot of the story lines will have a surprisingly touching conclusion. We’ll see.

Top 6 Fictional Couples

 

Happy Walmart You’ve Gone Too Far Valentine’s Day, wordmigos! Just for kicks and giggles, I’ve compiled a list of my six favorite fictional couples in order of favorite-ness. Comment below with some of yours!

Anything goes for my list: books, movies, t.v. shows, and video games are all contenders!

Honorable mentions: Han and Leia, Wall-E and Eve

#6. Shasta (Cor) and Aravis (Narnia: The Horse and His Boy)

The two protagonists from my favorite Narnia story. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the Narnia series, but these two still stand out as a dynamic duo.

“Aravis also had many quarrels (and, I’m afraid, even fights) with Cor, but they always made it up again: so that years later, when they were grown up, they were so used to quarreling and making it up again that they got married so as to go on doing it more conveniently.”
C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

#5. Carl and Ellie (Up)

Do I really have to say anything? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

carl-and-ellie

#4. Link and Zelda (Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword)

Link and Zelda characters have a long history (as in a couple thousand Hyrulian years). But the Skyward Sword rendition of the pair takes the cake for its raw emotional impact. (Also…Zelda pushes Link off a cliff, so it’s kind of hard not to pick them.)

link-and-zelda

#3. Billy Bannister and Bonnie Silver (Dragons in our Midst)

I’m guessing the vast majority of you haven’t heard of this series (shame on you). Billy and Bonnie’s relationship starts as a pure and strong friendship, and it grows into something more meaningful and genuine than 99% of today’s fictional ‘romance’ relationships. Simply put, these two set quite the example for what a real relationship should look like. Oh, and yeah…she has wings and he breathes fire.

billy-and-bonnie

#2. Taran and Eilonwy (Prydain Chronicles)

I love everything about this couple: their genesis as mutually-aggravating allies, their development into a classic fantasy couple, and the emotional conclusion to their story at the end of the series. Note: the 80’s Disney film based on these books is garbage. They missed the mark by a mile and then some. 

“I can’t make sense out of that girl,” [Taran] said to the bard, “Can you?”

“Never mind,” Fflewddur said, “We aren’t really expected to.”
Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three

#1. Hera and Kanan (Star Wars: Rebels)

Call it my utter geekdom when it comes to Star Wars. Call it my recent binge-watching of Rebels. Call it my “finally, a Jedi gets a proper relationship” outlook. Call it the fact that Ezra, Sabine, and Zeb make great unruly kids and Chopper makes the perfect family cat. Call it the raw emotions at the end of Season 2 (no spoilers, don’t worry!). Call it the fact that it doesn’t dominate the show, but it’s definitely there. Call it the fact that they argue, disagree, disappoint each other, forgive each other, yet always care and always help each other grow as individuals. Or call it all of the above.

kanan-and-hera


Glad you stopped by! Now run along and eat some chocolate (let’s be real: that’s the true reason for the season). In the meantime, have a great day!

Hannah’s Novel Notions: Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate Philbrick

Thanks, Hannah, for the awesome review!

Constant Collectible

When people think of fantasy novels, they usually think of woods. Trees and rivers and magic and elves and great battles. Those are common parts of fantasy novels, which is why I’m always expecting something along those lines when I pick up a book in the fantasy genre.

Hannah's Novel Notions: Where the Woods Grow Wild by Nate PhilbrickBut the last fantasy novel I read surprised me. It had woods, like most others. How could it not? With a name like Where the Woods Grow Wild, I’d feel cheated if it didn’t. But its woods were different from the ones I’m used to seeing in other books. And instead of elves, I got shapeshifters and less-than-elegant dryads. In place of great battles, I got struggles on a smaller, more personal scale.

It was unlike many fantasy novels I’ve read, and in the best possible way.

Where the Woods Grow Wild is written and published by Nate Philbrick, a talent…

View original post 981 more words

The Writer’s Life According to Star Wars

I’m back from Christmas vacation and a blogging hiatus. It seems to have been a Star Wars themed break as well, given Rogue One and a number of re-watches at my place. Therefore, I decided to kick off the 2017 blogging year with a Star Wars themed post. Here we see the writer’s life as told by Star Wars gifs…


1
When a new story idea wakes you up.
2
When you solve a plot hole in the middle of, well, some random activity…
3
When MS Word starts underlining all your made-up words.
4
When you find a typo in your proof copy.
5
When you try writing without caffeine…
6
The aftermath of a character death.
7
When someone tells you how hard it is to make a living as a writer.
8
When you realize how hard it is to make a living as a writer.
9
When you find out your friend is reading Twilight.
10
When your villain starts to grow on you.

Have a great day everyone, and may the Force be with you!

December Giveaway Winners Announced!

Remember that time at the beginning of the month when I announced a Rafflecopter giveaway some indie-author friends and I were hosting? Well, we got hundreds of entries, and today I get to announce the pool of winners!

Here’s the Rafflecopter Giveaway Winner List of Utmost Glory and Ebookness.

Congratulations to Cory, Bailey, Jennifer, Raechel, Marrok, Rachel, Hailey, and Olivia! The giveaway hosts will contact you individually. I’ll also link to each book so the rest of you can check them out and pick up a copy if you didn’t win!

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Nate Philbrick

Song of the Sword – Hope Ann

Water Princess, Fire Prince – Kendra E. Ardnek

Be Thou My Vision – Faith Blum

Becoming Nikki – Ashley Elliott

Alen’s War – Hannah A. Krynicki

Befriending the Beast – Amanda Tero

The Wings of Antheon – Ellyanna J. Wenceslao

There’s a lot of variety there, so make sure you take a peek! In the meantime, have a great day.

Operation: 100 Sales on Launch Day!

Happy Saturday, everybody! So, I’ve got a minor announcement…Where the Woods Grow Wild is officially out! If you’ve been following the countdown on Twitter/Instagram or the build-up posts right here, then you knew this day was coming, and here it is!

book1coverfinished

A forest looms over Bardun Village. Nobody goes in. Nothing comes out. The secrets in the oaks remain hidden until a mischievous escapade thrusts Martin and Elodie behind the silent trees. Separated and lost in a tangle of fantasy, they discover more than animals roam where the woods grow wild.

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I’ve got a few topics to cover in this post, so let’s move right along. First of all, a huge thank you to anyone and everyone who has encouraged me and supported me throughout the whole creation process of WtWGW, from family to strangers on social media. It hasn’t always been a smooth or pleasant ride, but you guys made it happen.

thank-you

Second, I’ve set up a challenge/goal for today, as it’s uber-super-ultra-cool-launch-day. See that post title up above? Yeah, we’re going for it. 100 sales on day one. Today.

“But Nate, that’s a really big number. It’s way bigger than 99. How will you ever pull off such an extraordinary feat?” *polishes tophat in disbelief* 

I’m glad you asked! I need your help. Here are some things you can do to push the number up (and earn my undying love and servitude a thumbs up).

  • Treat yourself or someone else to a copy! Nothing helps sales like a sale, right?
  • Spread the word. Grab a Santa Claus costume and go yell about WtWGW on the street corners. Or just tell a friend. #thepoweroffriendship
  • Social media shares! For every retweet, like, share, or re-post this gets, I’ll chug some hot chocolate. If by the end of the day I’m a hyper, sugar-saturated hospital case, then we did it!
  • Mark it on Goodreads. More exposure is always helpful.

conquer

Now, it’ll take a while for the Kindle page and the Paperback page to link up into one Amazon page, so here’s a link to each version:

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Kindle

Where the Woods Grow Wild – Paperback

Want more information about the book? I’ve got you covered with past blog posts about the characters and the story world, so go check those out of you want to!

All right, now let’s see how close to 100 we can get! In the meantime, have a great day!

 

Author Interview with Ashley Elliot

Hello, wordmigos! Today I have the pleasure of sitting down* for an interview with splendid indie author Ashley Elliot from Inklings Press.

*To be fair, it’s quite possible she was standing up when she answered my questions. Or doing one-handed pushups with a baby koala on her back. Let’s not make assumptions.

Ashley and I, along with a handful of other indie authors, are doing a giveaway thingy [insert fancy giveaway clicky thingy here] together, and you still have time to go participate for a shot at one of eight free e-books!

It was good fun to ask Ashley some questions about herself and her writing, and she provided some great answers!

(Note: I’ve included some interviewer interjections purely for the sake of clarity.)

N: So, can you tell me a little bit about your writing style? What genre do you tend to work in?

A: My writing style is very seat-of-the-pants, never really planned (I’ve got general ideas and know how it’ll end, but I let the characters tell me where they want to go), and very sporadic. It’s changed from book to book, as I like for all of my characters to have their own voice, but I’m more dialogue-heavy than anything else. My first novel, Becoming Nikki, is very light and airy, whereas my second, The Art of Letting Go, is a lot heavier (and more depressing; sorry). I write young adult fiction, usually coming-of-age, with lots of lessons cleverly hidden inside the pages.

N: What’s been a favorite experience of yours as an indie-author?

A: Once, I got to go to a local authors’ spotlight at a library with a fellow indie author friend and sold exactly one book. I also love it whenever somebody tells me that something I wrote touched them.

N: If you could go back in time and offer one bit of advice to your younger author self, what would you say?

A: Keep writing. Never stop, no matter what people say. Your writing may suck now, but you’re getting better, and it’ll show… eventually. Oh, and write out what your plans are for that novel because you’re going to get old and forget and it’s going to be very sad.

N: What do you think is the hardest part about being an author, whether self-published or traditional?

A: I’d have to say that the hardest part for me personally is knowing that what I’m writing is actually good. I’ve got a lot of self-confidence outside of writing, but I hate showing people what I’ve written because I never think it’s any good. And that seeps into finding motivation to write, which I think is the second-hardest thing. Sometimes I just don’t want to write, and self-confidence can play a major part in that.

N: Can we get a peek at something you’re working on now? Or is it all FBI levels of confidentiality?

A: Haha*, well, something I’ve been working on that’s definitely more public is a novel called The Art of Letting Go, which is about this girl who loses someone very close to her and has to figure out how to move on.  I’m done writing it, but the revising stage is taking a lot of time and effort that I don’t really have at the moment.  It’s on hold until I finish college, which will hopefully be in March!  (When it’s done, though, I’m going to try and publish it through the traditional route.  Fingers crossed!)  The project hidden under FBI levels of confidentiality is currently in the brainstorming stage, and if I told you anymore besides that, I’d have to kill you**.
*Please note that such slang vocabulary does not reflect the serious, professional nature of the blog or the blog host.
**The interviewer had no desire to be killed, so he didn’t pursue this issue further.
 

N: You’re currently submitting Becoming Nicki as part of our December giveaway. Can you tell us more about that book?

A: Yes, I am! Becoming Nikki is about a girl who has this awful relationship with her brother, and after he loses his memory, she has to figure out whether to let everything stay the same or try to start anew. (Gosh, it’s been forever since I wrote a blurb on that novel. I started writing it when I was fifteen and published it on my twentieth birthday, and I’m turning twenty-two tomorrow*, so it’s been out of my mind for a while. I still love it, though.)
*Here, the interviewer pauses to wish the interviewee a happy birthday and to eat some cake.

N: You have ten seconds to choose your absolute favorite book from your bookshelf. Which one do you grab?

A: I’ve got the Bible app on my phone, so don’t you DARE try to judge me* for not grabbing that! I’d grab The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly.  It’s not very well-known, but I’ve recommended it to all of my friends since I read it for the first time a few years ago.  It’s a retelling of Little Women and it’s about finding your way in the world – and it came to me at a time when I was trying to do just that, so it holds a very special place in my heart.  (And then I’d use the remaining six seconds to grab Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.)
*At this point, the interviewer wiggles his fingers judgmentally.

N: We all know being a writer is tough. Where do you find the most support or encouragement to keep going when things get hard?

A: Honestly? Pinterest. I don’t have very many writer friends, and Pinterest encouragement is available 24/7. I use it to brainstorm, I use it to encourage me, and I use it to file away all the ideas I get for later, when I’m in a writing slump or just need something quick to write when I need a creative outlet. It’s amazing and I love it dearly.

N: Have you ever had any fun, unusual, or memorable interactions with your readers? Care to share?

A: Not really… although it’s always great whenever somebody reviews my book (period), but especially whenever someone’s like “There’s no way you’re not a professional ice skater!”  I just smile and say, “Nope. I’ve been ice skating a lot, but I suck!” I love being able to allow my characters to do the things I can’t!

N: Random fun question to wrap up: if you could have written any well-known novel out there, which one would you put your name on? (Don’t worry, the real author won’t feel too bad!)

A: The Harry Potter series – or something like it.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to have written something so universally adored by millions of people, connecting them through their mutual love for it?  #goals


Huge thanks to Ashley for taking the time to share her insights into her writing world! It’s been great fun, and be sure to go follow her blog! In the meantime, have a great day!

The Writer’s Life According to The Princess Bride

NaNoWriMo is over! Congratulations if you won (I did!), and congratulations if you did your best but didn’t quite make it, because you still got a lot done. In celebration, let’s take a look at the writer’s life according to everyone’s favorite cult classic, The Princess Bride.

1
When you walk into a bookstore with your family.
2
November 30th at midnight.
3
When the muscle character tries to get a little chatty.
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When someone hands you a gift card for books.

 

4
When you’re not sure why your book hasn’t earned you six figures yet.
5
When your editor suggests ‘cutting this whole scene.’
6
Sometimes your protagonist gets a little whiney…
7
When you leave for the weekend and won’t be writing.
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When you see people winning NaNoWriMo and it’s not even the middle of November.

It’s December 1st, so rest up and enjoy the start of the month! I’ll be giving my draft some well-earned space for a few days. Then it’s back to the writing grind. In the meantime, have a great day! (Hey!)

Sunshine Blogger Award Tag – Triple Dosage!

Today I’m participating in the always-fun Sunshine Blogger Award Tag. Unlike last time, however, I’ve been tagged by three people recently, so I decided to do a Q&A blitz of sorts. Big thanks to Benita J. Prins, Katelyn Buxton, and S. M. Metzler for the tags! Go follow their blogs and leave them an offering of chocolate and a caffeinated beverage.

Being tagged by three people, however, means I have not ten, but thirty questions to answer, so let’s get right into this!

From Benita J. Prins…

  1. Who is your favorite actor/actress and why? Will Smith or Liam Neeson.
  2. How many languages do you speak well enough to hold a conversation? English, Spanish, Catalonian…so three. Four, if a very simple conversation about the weather in French counts. 
  3. What is the last book you read that you couldn’t put down? The Miss Peregrine series, by Ransom Riggs. 
  4. What is one genre you would never read? Paranormal. Or pure romance. 
  5. Do you have any unique quirks? Haha…yes.
  6. What’s the best book-to-movie adaptation you’ve ever seen? The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
  7. Do you like maps? Yes. Maps are awesome. I was drawing maps before I started writing stories.
  8. How often do you write by hand compared to typing? Not very often, only when I really need to shake things up or concentrate better.
  9. Which author’s books can you never resist picking up? Neil Gaiman.
  10. What is your favorite letter of the alphabet? R, K, A, Y, N, S, in that order.
  11. How much chocolate do you consume on a weekly basis? Not much, if any.

From Katelyn Buxton…

  1. What’s your favorite movie? Oh boy. C.A. Civil War…or The Two Towers…or…
  2. A song that made an impact on you. Mercedes’ Lullaby 
  3. Math or creative writing? Creative writing (how is that even a question?)
  4. Do you have any pets? If so, what are they? If not, what kind of pet would you choose? My family has a Fat Cat and some Fat Fish and a Fat Rabbit.
  5. The last book you read. The Slow Regard of Silent Things (Rothfuss)
  6. What’s your favorite TV show? The Voice.
  7. If you could forget a book and read it over again for the first time, which one would you choose? Why would I want to forget a book?
  8. Do you prefer cold weather or warm weather? Cold. Fall weather is perfection.
  9. What’s your favorite color? Black.
  10. What’s your favorite artist/band? I don’t really have a specific favorite.
  11. What’s your favorite genre in books? Fantasy/adventure.

And from S. M. Metzler…

  1. When did you start blogging? About four years ago (on a different blog).
  2. Name three books that everyone on Earth should read. Fiction books? Not sure. That’s a tough question, and it may not have an answer (gettin’ all philosophical over here). 
  3. Favorite pop music artist and film score composer. Pop music bores me. Koji Kondo. 
  4. Name your three biggest fandoms. MCU, Nintendo (yes), Lord of the Rings.
  5. What is your favorite musical? Pass (sorry…just not that interested in musicals).
  6. Spiderman or Ant-man? Yes, the new Marvel ones. Spiderman all day every day.
  7. What time of day do you write the most? At night, usually, or at least in the evening.
  8. Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or apple cider? Yes. 
  9. A tagline for the first story you’ve ever written. Boy, that was a long, long time ago.
  10. If your book was going to be made into a movie, is there an actor/actress you’d choose to play your main character? Tom Holland might be a good choice. 
  11. Rey or Princess Leia? Why? Rey, because, uhm, she uses lightsabers and is awesome and has a killer staff-stick thingy. 

Awesome! Now you know 30 things about me you might not have known before. We’re practically best friends. I won’t keep the tag going (sorry!) because anyone I can think if to tag has already been tagged or has tagged me, so I’ll stick to my questions.