Sunday, February 26, 2017

February Highlights

  A little hard to believe that it's the end of the second month of 2017. I'll probably say that every month - as always.

  Similar to January, February started off relatively quiet but became a crazy mess of relative productivity? That I'm pretty pumped about.

  Allow me to relive a little of it...


  • Jonathan and I took a hike to Mt. Baldy in Kananaskis, which was pretty fun. It was our second "couple" hike (the previous one was when he proposed). We were going to go to a place near Barrier Lake but it was so violently windy that day we couldn't even cross the dam without almost being blown off - so we changed our plans. :P
We had a lovely view...
  • I went wedding dress shopping this month and got my dress! That was super fun and exciting. I took my mom, two of my sisters, my future mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. I am pretty excited about it and looking forward to donning it for August 19th. :)
The dress-hunting crew
  • I think I made some huge personal improvements in my jumping equitation this month which I'm incredibly excited about. We'll see what the coming month brings. 
  • When Jonathan and his family went on vacation this past week I got to house-sit/dog-sit/lizard-sit. Which wasn't exactly fun since I was missing him but I do always enjoy getting the chance to have a house all to myself - even if it means feeding the lizard live crickets. Bleck. 
  • Finally got to meet my friend's new baby, Obsidian. He was super premature but has come along amazingly well and he's pretty adorable. 


  I did get a fair bit of writing done this month. Not as much as desired - but I never do as much as desired. :P I got a little further into The Snow Dragon, wrote another few chapters of The Wandering, edited up some more of The Sorceress and the Squid and finished my submission for my writing course - the first chapter of Thin-Skinned

  The Snow Dragon took a ridiculous turn to places I didn't expect and I'm kind of scrambling to get it back under some sort of control, though I'm pretty excited to see what will happen. 

  I've been steadily working on The Wandering and finished quite a bit more of it this month - now I am at chapter fifteen, which is half-way to half-way through it! Huzzah!

  Some exciting news concerning The Sorceress and the Squid is that I've FOUND AN EDITOR TO SEND IT TO!! I'm super excited about this and definitely looking into publishing in the near future. If anyone has any marketing/self-publishing tips for me I would be super super grateful. Please, please send them my way! In the meantime, I will keep you updated as my little novel goes off to be polished and perfected...

  Finally, I have written almost three chapters of Thin-Skinned and am really enjoying it. It's quite a different story than the ones I've been working on lately, but it will be fun to get back into futuristic/lab/dystopia/angsty stuff again. I can't wait to keep writing!


  I started out this month really sucking with the reading and decided that my rather ambitious goal of 50 books for the year (ambitious for my schedule anyway) just wasn't going to happen. So I brought it down to 24 - two books per month - and now I'm ahead! Mwahaha. 

  This month I read...
1984 by George Orwell
Since the American election people have been comparing the Trump presidency to this book so I thought I would read it and check it out. Spoiler alert: It's nothing like the Trump presidency. It's a political commentary on socialism. Also, it's terribly depressing because George Orwell wrote it. So if you like stories with happy endings absolutely do not read this because you will not experience a single shred of happiness the entire time. Just, don't. 
However, if you enjoy being depressed as well as intellectually stimulated - this book is for you!
It was definitely a mind-bending read for sure, my favorite book of the month. 4.5/5

CORALINE by Neil Gaiman
This was a pretty great book as well. I got into Neil Gaiman last year with Ocean at the End of the Lane and have been really enjoying all his stories since. Coraline was a nice size book, easily devoured in an hour or so, and gave a pretty excellent story. It was a little creepy and even had my heart literally racing at one point, but it was awesome. I really enjoyed it a lot. 

MILKWEED by Jerry Spinelli 
I had never heard of this book before Valentine's Day when Jonathan and I went to Value Village and picked out a book for each other as a gift. This is the one he picked for me. Similar to Coraline, it is a shorter book and I read it also in about an hour. It was a really cool story set in WWII about a boy who ends up in one of the ghettos in Warsaw. It was a pretty neat little story and I definitely enjoyed the time I spent reading it. 

I also started That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis this month - not near finished but I do enjoy a good CS Lewis book so I'll probably be letting you know how it is next month. 


  Astonishingly I'm still managing to post every week. I am quite surprised with myself, but also quite pleased. I really really hope that I can keep it up. 

  By the way, I'm still very interested in doing a guest post/hosting a guest post. Let me know if you are too!

  This month's blogging stats:
  • Pageviews: 4,829
  • Followers: 14 (up a little again!)
  • Posts: 55


Goals for February...
  • Read 6 books | Didn't really happen - but I did read 3 which is half-way so that's something.
  • Finish 1st draft of The Snow Dragon | Don't know what I'm thinking here, but apparently the story has a mind of it's own and doesn't want to be finished. 
  • Write 3 chapters of The Wandering | Pretty well did this one, which I am glad about - I did something, yay!
  • Find editor for The Sorceress and the Squid | DID THIS and I'm so excited!!!

Goals for March...
  • Get The Sorceress and the Squid sent off to the editor!! 
  • 1-2 chapters of The Wandering written?
  • Read at least 2 books - hopefully more if possible
  • Try to get somewhere with The Snow Dragon?

  Well, that about sums up my month. How was yours? Did you do anything special or out of the ordinary? How are you coming with your own writing goals? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

In Honor of Valentine's Day // My 10 OTP's

  Since I am on the cusp of being an old married lady, I thought a Valentine's Day-esque post might be a good thing (and my blogging brain is currently not very inspired). Today I am bringing you my top ten OTP's (One True Pairings) and fangirling a little bit, cause that seems Valentine's appropriate.

  So, let's begin - in no particular order because it's impossible to order...

  ARAGORN AND ARWEN (lord of the rings)

  One of my favorite pairs (any fantasy lover's favorite pair, probably). They're both just so beautiful and perfect and amazing. Ugh. Can you get anymore beautiful than Liv Tyler and Viggo Mortensen? I don't think so. 


  These two are dorks and I am a sucker for the enemies or "in dislike" turned lovers trope. Han and Leia are a classic example of this and that is why they rock.


  The original Spiderman movies with Peter and MJ has been one of my first OTP scenarios for a very long time and as cute and adorable as Emma Watson and Andrew Garfield are, the original Spideys are what I'm here for. Fight me.

  FARAMIR AND EOWYN (lord of the rings)

  Couple #goals. Better than you. Warrior who loves peace and shieldmaiden turned healer. The literal bestest.

  KATARA AND AANG (avatar: the last airbender)

cartoon kisses, lol
  Well, these two are pretty cute. And pretty cool. And ATLA, guys. It's ATLA. They make every fandom related list. 


  A typical dysfunctional couple that has gone through the same typical dysfunctional garbage and should just be allowed to be happy and also have their romance acknowledged in the movies?? Like, what's up with that????

  ANASTASIA AND DMITRI (anastasia movie)

  Not all OTP's are live-action or from a book. Some are characters from historically inspired animations. And just so happen to be their own special brand of awesome. Like these two. 


  I know this is a pairing that only gets mentioned in the Appendices of LotR as ever having happened at all, but I've written a lot of fanfiction for these two and they have a special place in my heart as the literal cutest ever. Unfortunately no images of Estella. :(


  Yes, I do in fact have a thing for romantic tragedy. Yes, that is in fact 90% of why I like the Anidala ship. Sue me. 

  SIMBA AND NALA (the lion king)

  I will not be judged for having animated lions on this list. Do you hear me?? THERE WILL BE NO JUDGMENT! You know they make your list too.

  WILL TURNER AND ELIZABETH SWANN (pirates of the caribbean)

  Again with the two incredibly hot people playing an incredibly hot couple. I have to say, Will is such a sweetie and Elizabeth a firecracker. Just look at that GIF! They're beautiful.

  JESSE AARONS AND LESLIE BURKE (bridge to terebithia)

  If these two adorable tragedies aren't on your list then there is something wrong with you. Clearly. This book. This movie. I can't not cry every time. I swear, Josh Hutcherson's sobbing takes years off my life every viewing.


  I swear I don't have a problem with doomed childhood romances...I swear....

  But these two. How can you not love them? Especially in the book. Gah, the book. Just love them with me.

  ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN (disney and otherwise)

  I like the "real life" pairing but also and especially the Disney one. Look at that scenery, isn't it magical? Robin really knows how to treat his girl. Before I had any inkling of what romance was, these two were showing me. 

  ZUKO AND MAI (avatar: the last airbender)

  I don't know why, but Mai reminds me of me and I really like Zuko and yeah. These two are pretty awesome. More from ATLA I know, but who cares? Not me. Besides, Zuko and Mai probably deserve their own entire post, just saying. 

  MIKE AND ELEVEN (stranger things)

  And finally we have my latest pairing, Mike and Eleven and all their adorable-ness. Ugh, Season two cannot come fast enough. I need more of these guys!

  So there are my top ten OTP's for you this belated Valentine's Day. Do any of these guys make your lists? Is there someone critical I left out (probably)? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Things to Know If You're Writing About Horses...

  As both a writer and equestrian, I notice a lot of the time horses get completely misrepresented in media. And that bothers me.

  Today I am hear to clear up any misconceptions and give you readers some tips on how horses think and function that may keep other horse-enthusiasts from rolling their eyes at your equine characters. Nobody wants an eye-roll from an equestrian, trust me. We are the judgiest people on the planet.

  So, without further ado, here are some tips on crafting equine characters in your stories...


  Horses are often crafted in movies to be a Lassie-the-dog type character: clever, understanding, careful and ceaselessly benevolent. To that I utter a resounding HA.

  Horses are pretty much anything but benevolent - most horses anyway. They are some of the dirtiest tricksters around, especially ponies.

  (By the way, ponies are not baby horses, we'll get to that in a minute.)

  If you're going to write about a horse, no matter to what extent and in what genre this is an important concept to grasp. Horses are ANIMALS not PEOPLE. They cannot reason, they cannot think through things and make a cohesive plan. They learn through association and repetition, not because they're good at figuring things out. Would you climb on a 1200 pound animal who knew how to "figure things out" - things like getting you off him? Yeah, I wouldn't either. So remember, treat horses like the dumb animals they are. Yes, they are beautiful and athletic and intelligent enough to learn what we teach them, but they would never accomplish anything like that on their own. One of my biggest peeves is seeing any animal portrayed on film - especially horses - like a rescuing angel, sacrificing themselves for their mistress/master. Horses DON'T DO THAT. They don't care squat about their human when scary things start going down. Have you ever watched a horse freak out about something and completely ignore its rider/handler in the throes of panic? They really don't care an ounce about you when there's something dangerous. Really, they don't.

  Anyway, now that that's out of the way...


  This is a super annoying misunderstanding that definitely evokes a large eyeroll from myself. So here, let me say it again.


  Baby horses are called "foals", males are called colts and females, fillies.

  A pony is a small horse, much like a Chihuahua is a small dog. The dictionary definition is "a horse of a small breed, especially one whose height at the withers is below 14 hands 2 inches (58 inches)."


  A horse has four "speeds" or "gaits" as they are commonly referred to. Walk is the first, slowest and most obvious. Trot is the second speed, it is a bouncy, jogging sort of gait. The canter is next and it is like a slower, more collected and controlled version of the last and fastest gait: galloping.

  Here is a video to help you get a better visual idea of the four different speeds so you can apply them to the horses in your story more accurately.


  Are you imagining a specific shade of horse for your story but can't think of any names besides black? Well, I am here to help!

  Horses actually have so many cool colors and learning about them is really neat (says the kid who grew up mostly on equine non-fiction books during her formative years).

  Here is a basic chart to get you started on the most common horse colors...

  And there (in this last ditch, night before effort to get a post on time) are some of my helpful hints for writing about horses in your fiction. Did you learn anything new? Have you ever written about horses in a story before? Is there something horse-related you would like to know about? Feel free to ask me! I will talk about horses forever with a willing listener. :P Or you could ask Google, I'm sure Google knows better than me. XD

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writing Wednesday - Thin-Skinned (short-term beta readers wanted!)

  Well, I haven't done one of these for awhile, but I was hoping to share about my latest project with you guys and thought I'd drag out this old "Writing Wednesday" idea (maybe I'll use it occasionally).

  As some of you may have heard, I am entering the last phase of my U of C Creative Writing Course here right away. The course is called 'Final Project' and focuses on the entire act of writing a novel from start to finish. I'm currently working on my 10-15 page submission to send out in the middle of this month. I'm nearly finished with it and am looking for some short-term beta-readers to give it a quick read this upcoming weekend: February 11th and 12th.

  Are you interested in dystopias? Things like 1984, Brave New World, The Giver, Divergent, or The Hunger Games? This story may be right up your alley...

  In a world without death or imperfection sanitation worker, Tobias Keat, experiences the unthinkable: the tragic passing of his wife, Erah. However, he soon learns that while his wife as he knows her is gone, the government has supplied him with her cloned replacement to maintain their Utopian facade; a puppet he is forced to accept as his own.

    I'm just looking for betas for these first few pages (probably about two chapters) for the time being, just to get a bit of feedback on how the story reads. I would like to send it out by this weekend and have it back by Monday? If you've got some free reading time this weekend and would like to help me out I would be incredibly grateful!

  Drop a comment here or send me an email request if you're interested! And let me know if you've been working on anything lately, I love to hear about everyone else's works in progress. :D

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Martin Hospitality Blog Tour - Spotlight on Abigayle Claire

  Happy Sunday, everyone!! I am so excited to be participating in the Martin Hospitality blog tour for my fantastic, talented and lovely friend Abigayle from The Left-Handed Typist! I've been following along with her blog from the beginning and will proudly boast that I landed the first comment on her 'About Me' section (bragging rights ftw). Along with being an excellent writer she is also a wonderful editor who was very helpful in beta-reading my novel for me last year. I so enjoyed reading her helpful and encouraging comments and will sing her praises all day long! Of course, this is a book blog tour so we should discuss the book in question...

I set it to EXTRA LARGE so y'all can see the beauty

  Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she’s been evicted, she spends the night in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude.

The Martins aren’t a typical family—even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.

When Gemma’s past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins’ trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins’ love and God’s forgiveness go?

  There is the synopsis and cover together. Aren't they both awesome? I think Abi has truly outdone herself and I personally can't wait to get my hands on some digital dollars so I can read this thing! 

  If you want to know more about the amazing Abi, allow her to grace your computer screen for a brief moment below...

Abigayle has been inspired to write since she could spell her own name. Her passion wasn’t completing the stories (she did that twice and decided it wasn’t for her), it was jotting down the ideas.

But in 2015, a story grabbed her—one she had to finish. Inspired by a crazy dream in a genre she no longer reads, Abigayle set off on a journey to write her first novel and she hasn’t looked back since.

Writing is her ministry, freelance editing her job, and reading her pastime—all of which prove that God really does know what He’s doing when He inspires a 6-year-old with a pencil in her left hand.

  She is hosting a Goodreads giveaway over HERE!

  Please go check out this girl's stuff! She is an amazing individual who has worked super hard - I can't believe what a good job she's doing in all this! She definitely deserves all the readers! Head on over to her blog to learn more about her and her book. 

  Congratulations, Abi! All the best to you as you pursue this publishing journey!