Friday, May 29, 2015

Return of the Archer- As Promised

***** WARNING: The post below contains spoilers to The Crimson Banner. If you 
have not read it and do not want anything spoiled for you, do not proceed*****






Greetings, faithful readers!

As promised, here is the prologue and first chapter of the unfinished sequel to The Crimson Banner.

Due to a rather upset text from my sister, I feel the need to clarify something- when I said that on Monday that this is the "unfinished (and now dead) sequel" I did not mean the sequel was dead. I meant this one is.

I am making no promises that there will ever be a sequel to The Crimson Banner. But I am also making no promises that there won't be. The characters (especially Tom and Toby) have a very special place in my heart and I would love to return to the kingdom of Knox someday. I do not know if that is truly to be in my future, but do not give up hope.

After all, anything's possible.

Now, without further ado, the beginning of Return of the Archer:




Prologue

The stars twinkled brightly as fourteen-year-old Toby Pemberton raced across the open field. Reston was leaving in the morning and he had promised to give her an astronomy lesson that night.

“Hey, Squirt,” Reston said as she approached him.

Toby glared at him. At only 4.11 she was touchy about her height. “Don’t call me that,” she said. “I’ll get taller.”

“No you won’t. Everyone knows girls stop growing at your age.”

“I’m not a girl,” Toby stated.

“Toby, you may dress like a boy and you may act like a boy but your body will still function like a girl’s. I don’t think it heard about the change in gender.”

“We did not come out here to discuss my body,” Toby said irritably.

“You act just like a girl,” Reston muttered. “Mood swings and all.” He gave Toby one of his charming smiles but she didn’t fall for it.

“All right,” he said clapping his hands together. “First, there’s Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.”

“Besides the sun.”

“Of course besides the sun. They call him ‘the Dog Star’.”

“Why?”

“I guess because he’s one of the stars that makes up Orion’s dog.”

“Who’s Orion?”

“Well,” Reston said pointing, “moving from Sirius past some of the other stars, see those three in a row? That’s Orion’s belt. Orion is the mighty hunter of the skies.”

Toby looked from Reston to the sky then back at Reston. “I can see a resemblance.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if he’s a hunter that means he must be an archer like you. I think I can see a family resemblance.”

“Sorry, Tobes,” Reston said ignoring her glare. “In the first place, all archers aren’t related. And in the second, Orion hunts with a club.”

“Well, that’s rather primitive.”

“He’s been up there a long time,” Reston pointed out. “You can’t really blame him for not being in tune with new hunting methods.”

Though it was late December it wasn’t very cold and they lay on the grass for a good three hours staring at the heavens. Finally Toby stood up.

“I’d better go,” she said. “Lord Pemberton won’t like me staying out so late.”

“He doesn’t own you, Toby.”

“Actually, he kind of does.”

Reston shook his head. “Toby, if you want to get anywhere in life you can’t let anyone have power over you. Come on, come with me, I’ll take you places you only dreamed of. You have potential, Toby, but you’re wasting it here on that man.”

“He doesn’t have power over me,” Toby said, ignoring his plea altogether. She couldn’t have gone even if she wanted to. Something held to Babancock and to her brother- invisible ties that couldn’t be broken.

“You just said he practically owns you.”

“Maybe so but he still doesn’t have power over me.”

“Oh, really?” Reston said unconvinced. “And why not?”

“Because I’ve forgiven him,” she said simply. Reston waited expectantly for more. “I mean, if I become angry and embittered then I’ll be just like him and that’s what he wants. By forgiving him I’m deciding who I want to be and therefore he has no power over me.”

Reston nodded slowly. “Let me know how that works for you.”

“It’ll work fine,” Toby said. “Just wait and see.”

He shook his head. “I don’t have time to wait and see. I have places to go and things to do. The offer’s open, Tobes, come with me and leave this all behind.”

In response, she just grinned and said, “Come back and see me sometime, okay?”

He sighed. “All right, if that’s how you want it to be. And, of course I’ll come back. You owe me a favor, remember?”

“Come and collect any time you like,” she replied. “I’ll be here.”

And, with that, she scampered off into the night.

Chapter One: Times of Trouble

Lord, give me strength, Captain Tom Rogers prayed as he made his way through Hydel’s crowded streets. It’s been a year already… she might not even remember me.

He pushed passed a group of sailors who had obviously just pulled into port and been paid. He remembered that feeling. The hopes and dreams a man carried with his pocket full of his wages.

I failed you, Faith, his heart cried. I promised you those dreams would come true and I failed you. He sighed. And now I’m going to fail Emily too.

“Hey, watch it,” a female voice said. It sounded full of a smile but he muttered an apology anyway, though he kept his eyes on the ground.

“Tom?” the voice questioned, a gentle hand touching his arm. He looked up then, into the huge green eyes of a pretty, dark-haired young woman. “Captain Tom Rogers?”

He took a step back. “Excuse me, but do I know you?”

She laughed and something about her giggle sounded familiar. “No, I don’t suppose you would remember me. Last time we saw each other I was sporting a rather singed pair of pants.”

He started to shake his head, then it hit him. “Toby?” he said in disbelief. There was no way this beautiful young woman was that annoying little girl who insisted on acting like a boy.

But she was smiling and nodding. And then she gave that annoying laugh of hers and he knew it was true.

“I didn’t know you were in town,” she said.

He nodded. “I have some business to take care of.”

A young man, about sixteen, approached them. His dark hair fell over his forehead, shading his eyes, and his clothes were ragged. Tom moved a bit to shield Toby from this street waif in the subtlest of ways.

And the boy narrowed his eyes threateningly at the captain and said, “You leave Miss Pemberton be, you hear?”

Toby smiled. “It’s all right, Duff. This is my friend, Captain Tom Rogers. Tom, this is my friend, Duff.”

Duff nodded, though he eyed the man warily, not fully convinced. “Captain.”

Tom nodded back. “Duff. Toby, if you’ll excuse me now.”

“‘Toby’?” Duff looked at her, his eyebrow raised, questioning the name.

She smiled as she began walking again, keeping step with Tom. “I’ll tell you some other time. It was good to see you, Tom. I’ll be seeing you again, I hope, before you leave?”

“Aye, I’m sure you will.” He stopped in front of a small house, nestled between two storefronts. He glanced nervously towards the door. “Well, good day to you both.”

Before either could reply, the door to the house opened and a little girl, perhaps ten, appeared in the doorway. She had long blonde- almost white- hair and bright blue eyes. Her dress was faded and she wore a stained apron over it. Her face lit up as her eyes fell on Tom.

“Daddy!” she cried and ran to throw herself against him.

His face grew red with embarrassment. “Hello, Emily.” He took her in his arms and kissed the top of her head. “How have you been?”

“Grandma said you weren’t supposed to come for a whole month or more,” she said wrapping her arms around him. “But you came early! Why’d you come early? Who’s she?”


Toby stood staring at him in utter shock. He swallowed. “Emily, this is, Tob-  uh… Miss Pemberton. Miss Pemberton, this is my- my daughter, Emily.”



And there you have it! Be sure to stop back on Monday for the start of an exciting new series on writing tips. And then Next Friday will bring more of my writing from my teenage years.

In the meantime, let me know what your thoughts on the story above, of if you have any ideas for a series or blog post you'd like to see me write. I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Summer Changes Coming to Within the Ivory Palace!

Greetings, faithful readers!

I did not forget to write on Friday. I skipped it. I was feeling really awful and it was a bit of a long day.

Plus, I told you all I was going to write about work. And, every time I think about writing about work I just don’t feel like it. I don’t want to talk about work. I don’t like work.

It’s okay. I have an office job, which is nice. I’m glad I’m not running around outside all summer. But, it’s hard and boring and I feel like a machine. Every morning at 8:30 (usually a little before) I turn on and I crank out productivity until 5. Then I go home, recharge, and start all over again in the morning.

And, that’s about all you’re going to get from me. Because the rest will just be complaining. And, you all don’t want to hear me complain. I’m sure any of you who work know how it is. It’s work.

So ready for the summer to be over.

Anyway! I’ve also got exciting news. We’re going to be doing things a little different here this summer. And, depending on how it goes, I might keep part of it permanent.

First of all (this part’s just for the summer): I’m suspending Candor Fridays. I need to revamp it and I just don’t have to time or energy this summer. If you have any questions you would like me to answer, please feel free to email me. It’s not the question answering part I don’t have time/energy for.

In place of that, I’m going to do a Throwback Thursday sort of a deal. Except it’s on Fridays. Every Friday, starting this Friday, through the summer, until I’m done working, I’m going to post a first chapter or short story I wrote when I was a teen. Most of the chapters, the story is completely revamped or I’m stuck with it, but I thought it would be fun for you all to see them. Plus, at the time I wrote them, I was incredibly proud of these chapters. So now I’ll be sharing them with you, starting this Friday.

And, then, the following Monday (first week of June :O) I’ll be starting a series of posts on writing. I’ve also got a series lined up for July and am brainstorming ideas for August. If you have any ideas for things you would like to see me write about, drop me a comment or an email. I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas.

So, this summer you’re going to get both a lot of posts on writing, as well as a lot of my own. So, I hope it’s a good summer for all of you. I know I’m very excited about it.


So, I’m back to work tomorrow. But, I’ll see you all on Friday. Hope you stop back for the first chapter of Return of the Archer- an unfinished (and now dead) sequel to The Crimson Banner.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rationality- Chapter One

Greetings, faithful readers! As some of you know- and most of you don't- I just started the job I interviewed for a few weeks back. I plan to write about it and give you an update on what's going on in my life on Friday.

But, in the meantime, my brain is exploding from all the information that's been packed into it. So, I don't have a post on writing or anything for today. But, instead of skipping out, I thought I'd post a chapter of a story I was working on a while back.

And, I've got a series of posts in the works, so I promise we'll be back to more about writing soon.

But, for now, here is Chapter One of Rationality. It's a slightly futuristic/ alternate reality story about two young adults- Aidan and Judas- and their struggles in a world where imagination and fiction are shunned as enemies of rational thought.

Hope you enjoy :D


Chapter One: Aidan

It’s easy to believe their lies until the day they take my book away.

I didn’t care about the stuffed animals or the imagination games or even Santa Claus. And, Edmund and Cailin seem happy enough when I see them at meal times from across the dining room. Even not letting me get upset about Mom and Dad means I’m not allowed to think about the pain, which is good. Because if I think about it, I’ll cry. And, crying only gives me a headache. It doesn’t solve anything.

But taking my book is the last straw.

“Give it back!” I wail, trying to wriggle free of Mrs. Matron’s firm grasp about my waist. Her bony fingers dig into my middle but I ignore the pain. “You’ve no right to take it. Give it back.”

It was Mom’s when she was a child and I have many a memory from my own childhood of her reading passages aloud. If I concentrate really hard when I’m reading I can still hear her voice in my head, forming each word as I read.

I watch Mr. Matron’s receding figure, the worn volume clutched under his arm. He disappears around the corner and with him my last tie to the life I lived before coming to this cursed place. I struggle all the harder, crying out a stream of protests.

“Pull yourself together, girl,” Mrs. Matron says, her grip tightening. “Persons of rational thought have no need for such frivolity.”

The tears are moist and hot on my cheeks, my anger welling up inside of me until it’s one huge ball of hurt and fury. I should push it back, hold it in. I know that. Causing trouble is wrong. I should make peace, avoid conflict.

But they took my book.

“I don’t care,” I scream, interrupting right in the middle of Mrs. Matron’s “persons of rational thought” speech. “If rational people are the kind of people who take a person’s book, I don’t want anything to do with them.”

Mrs. Matron gasps and loosens her hold on me. I’ve shocked her by my words, by insulting the manifest this orphanage is run by. I’ve spoken against the ideals this place strives to live up to and announced I have no intention of being the person these people are devoting their lives to make me into.

And, that’s why she’s so shocked she lets me go.

But, it’s only for a second. I start to dart away, all the while trying to determine where I’ll go, where I can hide once I get away from her. Not that hiding will do much good since I’ll have to come out for food sometime and I’m sure to be caught them.

And then she grabs me again, catching my wrist, her spindly fingers boring into it so hard I cry out from the pain.

“You are an ungrateful little brat who needs very much to learn her place,” she spats out. I notice then that her greying hair is falling out of her bun and the wrinkles of stress around her eyes look deeper than usual. She’s usually so stern, so put together, so on top of things. But now she’s not. Because of me.

Which makes me laugh because it’s funny that an eight-year-old girl can do that to a grown woman. I laugh because she’s getting so old that a child can break her stern front so easily. Because if I don’t find it funny I’ll remember why we were fighting and that will make me cry again.

I laugh because I have to.

And, that’s why I’m standing in the corner in Mrs. Matron’s office an hour later. Standing right through the evening meal.

She thinks it’s a punishment, the standing. But, it isn’t. It’s the missing out on food that’s the punishment.

But the standing isn’t bad at all. She thinks it will make me a better person. As if staring into a corner for over an hour will make me suddenly realize just how wrong I am about everything. As if it will make me want to be the person she wants me to be.

She really knows nothing about corners.

Standing here, I don’t think about how wrong I was. I don’t think about changing my attitude or my actions or any of that. I think about how wrong she is. How wrong Mr. Matron and everyone else who lives here is. I think about the injustice of it all and how I want my book back more than anything.

That thought brings the tears on again and I push them away. I need to stay angry. I need to keep hold of that and not focus on the pain.

Speaking of pain, my wrist burns from Mrs. Matron dragging me here. There’s sure to be a bruise; a deep one, if the throbbing is any indication.

I can hear her at her desk, shuffling papers, going about whatever it is orphanage runners do at their desks. She must have finished eating. Her sister brought in a tray a bit ago and the acrid smell of bacon still hangs in the air. One thing I’m grateful about this place is that they consider that accursed meat a luxury and never serve it to us kids.

She mutters something I can’t make out and I wonder if she remembers I’m here. Perhaps she’s forgotten and I’ll have to stand here all night. Which wouldn’t necessarily be bad, as it gives me more time to dwell on everything that happened today and plot how I plan to deal with it.

Even though that’s wrong. I should forgive her, make her life easier because that would be the right thing to do. It’s wrong to make trouble for people.

But, she took my book and bruised my wrist and is trying to take away even the memory of my family and the past life we had. And, I can’t let her get away with that.

A timid knock of the door. I shift to look and Mrs. Matron’s voice comes, “Eyes front, girl.”

I don’t even have a name anymore; none of us do. We’re either “boy” or “girl” depending on our gender. We are without individualism, without identity. All the same, I shift once more and return fully to my corner. Only then does she call, “Enter.”

The door creaks open and I hear the timid voice of Mr. Matron’s spinster sister. “Sister, Mr. Hawthorne would like to speak with you.”

Mrs. Matron sighs and I wonder about this Mr. Hawthorne and why the mere mention of his name causes such annoyance. I like him already. “Has he finished the tour?”

Only rich people the Matrons want money from get tours. So, this Mr. Hawthorne must be a donor, one of the people who funds this place. I don’t think I like him after all.

“And, has he said anything about…?” Mrs. Matron doesn’t finish the question but her sister must know what she’s talking about because she replies.

“Nothing. He’s been rather tightlipped the whole time.”

Another sigh. “Send him in.”

The door clicks shut and all is silent for a moment. Then is opens again and the heavy footsteps are masked by the carpet below our feet. The door shuts again. The sound of a chair scraping against the rug as Mrs. Matron presumably stands. “Mr. Hawthorne, how good of you to take the time to visit us. I trust you’re satisfied with things?”

This is the part where Mr. Hawthorne is supposed to answer the question, to tell her if things are up to his standard or not. But, the reply never comes. Instead there’s a moment of silence and then Mrs. Matron says, “Ah, don’t let her bother you. She’s learning a much needed lesson, but won’t be any trouble to our interview.”

He must have motioned to me, wanting to know. I feel my face grow hot. I am not learning a lesson here. I am plotting revenge, thank you very much.

I sense more than hear him take the few steps required to come and stand behind me. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up and a shiver runs down my spine. Why can’t he just leave me alone?

“What did she do?” His voice is deep but smooth with more of a curious air than anything else.

“Oh, really, it’s nothing,” Mrs. Matron flusters. Which we all know is a lie because if it were nothing I wouldn’t be standing here. “Please, don’t let her bother you.”

Mr. Hawthorne doesn’t respond to her. Instead he says, “Turn around” and I assume he’s talking to me.

I freeze, my heart pounding. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. This could be some sort of a test where I’m supposed to stay where I am. Or, I could make Mrs. Matron mad, if I turn. But, if I stay the way I am and ignore him, I could make him mad. And, he might be a donor who’s going to give this place lots of money. If I make him mad, he might change his mind. And that would make Mrs. Matron mad.

Why can’t he just leave me alone?

“Do as you’re told, girl.”

Oh. There. I should do like Mrs. Matron says. I turn.

Mr. Hawthorne’s eye meet mine as I do and I can’t help noticing that they’re the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. They seem too bright and lively for a man with such gray hair. But, they’re a bit stern too, like maybe I’ve annoyed him. So, I drop my gaze to the floor and study my shoes instead.

“Why don’t you answer the question,” he requests. “What did you do?”

I mumble a reply about disobeying the rules and being ungrateful to the Matrons for what they’re trying to teach me. Mr. Hawthorne must not like this because he makes a sound of clear annoyance. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you to look someone in the eye when you’re addressing them?”

Not since I’ve been here, no. I’ve been told to keep my head down, to follow without question. Eye contact is a sign of defiance and should be kept at a minimum, if used at all. But, if that’s what he wants, that’s what he’ll get.

I raise my gaze and meet his eyes once more. I’m going to pay for this, but I don’t care. “I’m here because the rules are unfair and I refuse to be ruled by tyrants, sir.”

Mrs. Matron gasps sharply from the other side of the room and I know instantly that I am a fool. I should have done the right thing. I should have given the answer she wanted to hear and made peace. But that would have been a lie and Mom always taught me never to lie. Ever.

I expect Mr. Hawthorne to get mad too, since this is the kind of place he wants to put money into and here I am insulting it. Only, while his jaw works something fierce, as if he’s biting something back, and his eyes flash, all he says is, “And what rules are those?”

I could probably take it all back now, if I put on a show of remorse and begged forgiveness; Mrs. Matron would probably like to see me beg. But they’ve taken too much of my mother from me already and I won’t let them take the sense of morality she tried to instill in me as well. I have to be honest.

“They took my book away. It was Mom’s favorite and all I have left to remember her by.”

It’s stupid, really. I have Edmund and Cailin, after all. They remind me of her. But, I only get to see them at meals and even then from across the room; Cailin sits with the babies since she’s only three and Edmund has to sit with the boys.

But instead of getting angry, Mr. Hawthorne turns to Mrs. Matron and says, “She’s right, that is unfair.”

Mrs. Matron sputters, her mouth opening and closing several times. I know how she feels; I very much want to do the same. “Books are discouraged, Mr. Hawthorne, because they’re the enemy of rational thought. They encourage imagination.”

She says it like it’s a bad thing. Until I came here, I didn’t even know what rational thought was. Now I can’t go a day without hearing the phrase a dozen times or more.

The man snorts. “Rational thought be hanged.”

I guess that means he isn’t going to give the Matrons lots of money and they’re probably going to blame it on me. And, take it out on me too, no doubt.

He turns back to me, his eyes less frightening now. “What’s your name?”

No adult has bothered to ask that for a very long time. Even the other kids- the ones who have been here for a long time, anyway- don’t ask. It’s been too long since someone cared enough to ask. “Aidan Allein, sir.”

He nods once, like he approves or something. “Well, Aidan, how would you like to leave here?”

I know what he’s thinking- that there’s no real question, that it’s a simple things to answer. And, it is, but not in the way he thinks. “Thank you, sir, but I’d rather stay.”

His eyes narrow and he studies me for a very long moment. Silence reigns, as even Mrs. Matron doesn’t dare to break the spell. And then finally the question comes, “And why’s that?”

I swallow, wishing once more that I could take back what I just said and ask him to please get me out of this place. But, that would be selfish and I’d never be happy like that. It was better to stay and face whatever the Matrons decided my fate to be. “I have a brother and a sister, sir. And, I can’t leave them alone.”

Mom would never forgive me. She always said it was my lot in life to look after my siblings, that I couldn’t seem to help it. And, it’s true; I’m always seeming to worry about them, always watching to make sure they’re happy and well. I can’t do that if they’re here and I’m somewhere else.

He nods, thoughtful, not angry at all that I just turned down such a wonderful offer. “And, if they were to come with you, would you leave?”

Is he really asking me this? My heart skips a beat. “Yes, sir.”

He nods once, like that settles everything. His next words come out almost bored, like he’s talking about something simple and not the lives of three children. Turning to Mrs. Matron he says, “I’ll take them.”

And there you have it! I hope you enjoyed. If you want to get more of a feel for the story, check out my Pinterest board for them. And, be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below :D

Monday, May 4, 2015

What Does Your Opening Say About Your Hero?




What’s the first thing your readers see your main character doing?

A lot of people focus on where the story needs to start, what needs to happen, what the reader needs to know. But very few people consider the first thing the readers see the hero do.

In Joss Whedon’s sci-fi/western TV series Firefly the first thing you see the main character- Captain Malcolm Reynolds- doing is fighting a war.

But he’s not fighting just any war. He’s fighting on the side of the Independence, the losing side. In fact, his side is losing the battle as the scene progresses and all the while Captain Reynolds is taking charge, throwing out orders and teasing a young soldier into not being afraid. You see him fighting with everything he’s got and you know from that first moment that he’s willing to lay down his life if need be for his cause.

The first thing you see another of the main characters- Wash- doing is playing with plastic dinosaurs. A grown man, he’s sitting at the pilot’s seat of the spaceship, happily playing with toys.

Now, that’s not to say Captain Reynolds doesn’t have any fun. There are some really awesome scenes where he says or does something that sets me off laughing. So, if the creators of the show had wanted to make him play with dinosaurs, he could have. Because I could see the captain doing that at some point.

But, if that had been the first thing we had seen him do, we, the viewers, would have gotten a much different impression of him. We would have seen him differently, formed a different opinion of him. We wouldn’t see him as the leader, the solider, the fighter of causes. We would have seen him as the fun, lighthearted guy who plays with dinosaurs.

Take a look back to some of your favorite stories and ask yourself what the opening scene tells you about the main character.

Why do you think Dickens chose to open Great Expectations the way he did? His starting place was crucial to the plot, yes. But is it not also an example that Pip is easily taken advantage of? Dickens could have started with Pip talking to Joe or with his sister beating on him and it would have given us an accurate description of who Pip was and what his life was like.

But, the way he began his book also told us something about Pip. Something that lasted the whole book. Even after he comes into his expectations, is Pip still not taken advantage of? By the way his money twists his mind, by his peers, by Estella, by his benefactor? Time after time we see someone, or something, take advantage of him.

And it all points back to that opening scene, when he was sitting in the graveyard and a certain convict decided to use him as a means to get a bit of food and escape his chains.

The first thing we see of Ally Carter’s hero- Kat Bishop- in Heist Society is her at a trial before the officials at the private school she’s attending. She’s been accused of something she didn’t do and they are planning to kick her out of school for it.

Ms. Carter could have started the book with Kat conning her way into the school. She could have started it after Kat got kicked out, having her get into the car and meet Hale right there at the beginning.

But she didn’t.

She started the book with Kat’s trial because it shows us so much about Kat’s character. While the officials are explaining to her what she’s accused of, her mind is reeling at the suggestion and she begins figuring out better ways to do commit the crime, thinking “If I had done it, I would have done it by [insert plan]” and she’s quite confident that she wouldn't have been caught at it. Which tells us Kat’s a planner. And, it’s believable when she becomes the mastermind of her own team later in the book.

But then, at the same time, she never tells the people she’s smarter than that, that she would have done it a different way. She keeps those thoughts to herself. Which tells us she’s also smart. It tells us she knows not what to say but, more importantly, what not to. And, it also points to a problem that arises later when she says not too much, but too little. It shows us she keeps things to herself, internalizes, plotting, planning, and overthinking inside of herself, but not sharing with the world more than she thinks they need.

The first thing you see a character doing is the most important thing. And yet, the best authors tell their reader everything they need to know without the reader realizing it.

The opening to The Fault in Our Stars (which, is a book I have not read all of, just the first little bit) begins with the main character- Hazel Grace- telling us that she’s depressed. It begins with a monologue of her explaining her illness, her depression, and what she’s being forced to do about it.

On the surface, it seems like a lot of telling. She’s depressed. She has cancer. She has to go to a support group. But, if you dig deeper, you see another layer- she’s a cynic. She’s straightforward. She may have cancer but, to an extent, she’s accepted it because we all, after all, are dying.

John Green could have opened his book anyway way he wanted to. But he chose to start with Hazel telling us something. She was talking to us, explaining her situation. But she says so much more, between the lines, with the things she says, the way she says them, how she chooses to express herself. That opening, which could be looked at as very telling, is actually showing us something. Something important.

So, writers, I ask you this- what does your opening scene say about your hero? I urge you to truly examine it. And, if doesn’t say show the readers who exactly your hero is, then I challenge you to scrap the scene and write a new one. A better one.

Because you, and your book, deserve for it to be the very best it can be.


How about you? What does your opening scene say about your hero? What does the opening scene of your favorite book say about its hero?

Friday, May 1, 2015

11 Random Fact- Stuff About Me!! :D

So, remember when I was doing the 10 Random Facts things on days when I didn’t get any Candor Fridays questions? Well, according to the Reader Survey people want more about my personal life. So, instead of random facts about me, here are 11 (because I came up with too many XD) random fact about my life recently. Hope y’all enjoy!

1. My puppy, Malachi, is 9 months today! He was born August 1st, 2014 so today is his official 9 month birthday.

2. My Mom and I have been watching my nephew while my brother and sister-in-law are working. He’s 19 months and super adorable. Especially when he plays with Malachi :3 He’s really a good kid and I love him to pieces.

3. I am currently listening to Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” on repeat as I write this post.

4. I bought six Christian Fiction books on Wednesday and I’m not even remotely remorseful. If I didn’t write YA fiction, I would probably write Christian Romance. And I still might, someday when I’m an old married lady :P

5. Mom took me to the library yesterday and I was able to get the next two volumes in the manga series I’m reading. I’ve been waiting a long time for these so I’m so psyched about it! Read on of the volumes yesterday and it so way too cute. And exciting. And yeah. Really loving it :D

6. Mom and I went to see Age of Adaline on Sunday. I don’t have a ton to say about it, except that I loved it. There is a moral issue, as it’s implied Adaline is having premarital sex, and I was kind of disappointed about that. But, nothing is actually shown, and the movie is really wonderful otherwise. It’s very much a contemporary fairy tale and I totally want to see it again :D

7. I had my very first job interview on Tuesday. Interviewed at the office where my dad works for their summer help position. I think it went okay, but I’m really nervous. I just wish they would get back to me soon so I can mentally one way or the other.

8. Getting ready for Book Club on Tuesday. We’re reading Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George, which I’ve already read. So, I just need to come up with discussion questions. Book Club has eight members now, including me. Which is strange, because I can still remember when we had meetings with just me and like two or three other girls. But, it’s also good. The girls add a lot to the discussion and we have a blast chatting about books and life and all that jazz.

9. I’ve been getting really angry about social issues lately (haha, ask my mom and she’ll probably tell you it’s been the last several years XD) and have been trying to process my thoughts on them. I hope to write extensively on my thoughts about them in the future. Which will be weird, since the non-fiction writing I do has always been about writing, so this’ll be a stretch for me.

10. I helped my best friend enter this contest using her super amazing idea that I helped make even more amazing. Regardless of whether we win, we had a ton of fun and I plan to push her to do something with even if we lose. Because her idea is awesome. I can’t share it here, because it’s hers, but yeah. Take my word for it. So. Awesome. Stayed up until after midnight several nights working stuff out and we got it in right at the deadline. So much fun.

11. I’ve been very unfocused in my writing. The last several weeks I’ve jumped from story idea to story idea and haven’t written much of anything. The weather’s just so nice I want to write everything. All at the same time. So, I’m having trouble focusing. If you want to make things even more complicated stop over at my Pinterest and check out my story boards (any board with “[NB]” at the beginning) when stop back here and drop me a comment about which one you’d most like to see me write! Or, if you somehow know about a story I don’t yet have a board for, you can go ahead and mention that one…

And, not a fact, but sort of: I’m hoping to start writing more reviews in the future, so if there is any book/ movie/ or show you would like to know my thoughts on, go ahead and ask me about it. I’ll have either read/ seen it and can review it for you, or I’ll consider reading/ watching it. Not making promises that if I haven’t read/ seen it that I will, but I’ll certainly give it consideration!

I’m also playing with some blog post ideas, but I always have trouble deciding what to write about. So, if you have any ideas, go ahead and share them with me! I always love to hear from my readers and find out what they’re interested in or want to know from me.


And, there you have it! I shall hopefully get a post written for Monday. And, Candor Fridays is still a thing. So, please send me questions if you have them!! And, in the meantime, don’t forget to stop over at my Pinterest account to look around or drop me an email about something I should write about/ review.