the mid-year book freak-out tag // speculative, historical, and much Goldstone Wood

Hello hello, readers, and welcome to (as the title suggests) a post in which I talk about the books I have read so far this year, the books I want to read later, and the fact that despite my grand plans to read 40 works of nonfiction this year, I have yet to read a single one.

(Yes, seriously, I haven’t read any nonfiction.)

I’ve seen this tag on several blogs already; I’m going to be taking my questions from Heather @ The Frozen Library and May @ Forever and Everly.

Before we start: I wrote this post on June 21; I will have (hopefully) read more books before its publication. (Including some nonfiction?) And, I’m going to relegate rereads to the “honorable mention” category (unless there’s a very good reason not to).

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reading stats

books read

  • total: 77 (+ two in-progress works by friends and about 10 Melanie Dickerson books — more on that later)
  • library books/borrowed: 47 (that was hard to count!)
  • ebooks/read on computer: 18
  • audiobooks/read alouds: 3
  • DNF: plenty that I will finish (including some I’m currently in the middle of); I don’t think I’m abandoning any
  • rereads: 46
  • sequels: 46 (I think?)

Read More »

looking back at my book // a glimpse into Remnant’s earlier incarnations, with much laughter

Hello hello, friends (and strangers)!

I wrote this post a long while ago. It was inspired by Sarah Baran (aka The Sarcastic Elf). I highly encourage you to check out her blog if you enjoy mine (or even if you don’t). Crazy homeschooled fantasy writers are the best. Especially if sarcasm is involved.

As the title of the post implies, I’m going to go back through various drafts of my current WIP, Remnant. I’m going to talk about my writing process and ideas. I’m going to share snippets. And I’m going to laugh at myself.

It’s going to be a lot of fun. (I should know, because as of right now, I have already written the post and read it numerous times.)

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The Chosen

This whole story starts back when I was eleven years old. Having read LOTR and Eragon recently, I was full of grand ideas of adventure, high fantasy, magic, and (of course) elves. However, I was suffering under the misconception that I couldn’t write a novel until after high school.

. . .

Yes, I know that makes no sense. I have no idea how I came up with that. Unfortunately, it was firmly cemented in my mind and I had never even attempted to write something longer than a few pages.

Until that day, standing in my bedroom, when I had THE IDEA.

Yes, it deserves capital letters. Because even though I no longer like THE IDEA, even though barely any of it remains in Remnant, even though it was honestly a terrible idea…

It was mine, all mine, and it’s the reason I started writing seriously. It’s the reason I am who I am. So thank you, eleven-year-old self, for THE IDEA.

THE IDEA involves silvery magic tattoos that signify power, a race called (wait for it) elves, another one called dwarves, a group called the Guardians (think the Varden, but cooler) who aided both, a bunch of (typically clueless) humans, yet another group (comprised of elves, dwarves, and humans, some of whom were Guardians) called the Chosen, a boy named Joe (it was a placeholder name that stuck around far too long), and a bunch of recycled plots from my previously planned fantasy series.

Because, though I was certain that I couldn’t write a novel, I saw no reason not to plan a novel. Many of them, in fact. So many that, before THE IDEA entered my brain, I had come up with the plot for a twenty-four-book series.

I’m not sure how I planned to write all those while figuring out adult life. But the Eagle-Wing Trail series (Wingfeather Saga meets Kingdom Tales) provided ample material for this The Chosen.

Sadly, none of the very first scene of The Chosen remains (at least not anywhere I can find it). So no one shall ever know of the meeting between Raldin and Taresil. How Raldin, tears in his eyes, handed baby Joe to the beautiful elf (beautiful beyond description), and she, crying and laughing in turn, marked the baby as one of the Chosen and spun him in circles in the forest…

But though this spectacular beginning is lost to history, I do have some amusing quotes from other sections.

For all things pleasant passed away in a time of desolation and sorrow, because those who were called the Chosen passed away into the land of memory… now let us eavesdrop in on one tale that was told… for the Chosen kept the peace and ruled over the land — until an unknown disaster befell them and they mysteriously disappeared…

This is deep stuff, people. At the tender age of eleven, I was already contemplating that dark and desolate place called “the land of memory.”Read More »

Dust blog tour stop #23 // book spotlight + treasure hunt ✨

Hello, Lost Boys (and Girls), and welcome to stop #23 on the blog tour for Kara Swanson‘s Dust!

If you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, you can start the blog tour here. (I highly encourage you to go through the whole thing — there’s a treasure hunt you can participate in if you follow the entire tour!) And if you want to see the previous post, you can find stop #22 here.

And now that you know what’s going on, let me tell you a little bit about Dust and Kara Swanson! Kara is the author of The Girl Who Could See (and was one of the sponsors for the Hope in Disaster contest). She was first published as a teen and is now releasing the first of her Heirs of Neverland duology with Enclave Publishing on July 21!


// about Dust //

DUST BLURBRead More »

Crowning Heaven by Emily Hayse // cover reveal

Hello and welcome, friends!

How has your week been so far? (We’ve only had two days. But still. Things may have happened to you.) On Monday, I started (will start, as I’m writing this on Sunday) a summer performing arts program. I’m learning to sing “Audition” from La La Land and I’m doing a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream with my sister. I may (or may not) share videos, depending on how it goes.

But anyway. That’s what I did yesterday (or will do tomorrow. Ah, the delightful complications of scheduling posts ahead of time).

And today (Tuesday) I’m participating in the cover reveal for my blogging friend Emily‘s book Crowning Heaven!

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about the book

Heaven Cassidy has only ever wanted one thing: a family. But when she opens a letter from her long-lost mother, she finds herself running for her life. Swept into a world of proud queens and ancient feuds, Heaven must decide whether her dream is worth taking on the responsibility of two kingdoms, one of which wants to crown her and the other to kill her.

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the cover, revealed…

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the return of the storyteller // updates + snippets + photos

Hello and welcome, meldonyar! (That’s “my friends” in Quenya, if you’re wondering.)

I’m terrible at intros to blog posts, but as the title (hopefully) implies, I have returned to blogging after a month off. It’s been a good month and I’m excited to get back into posting!

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// updates //

blogging 💻

I didn’t blog much in May (which was kind of the point), but I wrote several posts (+ post concepts) which I’m going to post in June and July! I did my best to keep up with reading other people’s posts, though.

Taking some time off helped me think about a few things and come to some decisions. Thus:

  • I’m not going to be replying to every single comment on all of my posts. Please don’t feel slighted if I don’t reply to you! It’s just that I don’t always have something meaningful to say, and I’d rather spend time answering questions and typing things I actually mean than forcing myself to come up with a reply to every comment.
  • I’m going to try to publish posts more consistently and schedule them ahead of time. (I still won’t have a “schedule” for posting, though.)
  • I’m going to stop worrying about follows/likes/etc. and focus on interacting and strengthening relationships with the people I’ve already met through blogging.
  • I’m going to try and follow less blogs, but actually comment on posts by the bloggers I do follow.
  • I’m going to do my best to be authentically myself.

reading 📚 + listening 🎧 + writing ✍ + watching 🎥

I talked about these in my monthly newsletter! (You don’t have to be a subscriber to click on the link, and clicking doesn’t subscribe you.)Read More »

Camp NaNo 2020, 1 // golden + Aionladon in a cell

Hello, my friends!

This year is my first time participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! I’m handwriting (just like I did for NaNo) and my goal is 20k words. I’ll be writing one poem a day (based on Lemon’s prompts) and also working on some story ideas: one called “Darius Raven,” a few inspired by the New Testament, and a futuristic dystopian. (Also, I’m writing some short scenes inspired by books I like, but with my own characters in the situations. I had the idea last night and am having so much fun with it today…)

I’m not sure I’ll be posting about it every day, but I am going to try to share my writing frequently this month. It’s (mostly) fun, and provides motivation to do the best work I can.

Today I have two snippets to share with you: a poem based on the prompt “golden,” and a Wingfeather Saga-inspired adventure featuring Aionladon (my novel’s MC) stuck in a jail cell. Read More »

sail home someday // a short story (+ Dust by Kara Swanson!)

Hello, my friends!

As a member of the street team for Kara Swanson’s new book Dust, I get the awesome opportunity to share Lorie Langdon’s endorsement of it. Lorie Langdon is the author of Olivia Twist and the Doon series, and she loves Kara’s book!⁣⁣

If you’re a Peter Pan fan who enjoys unique takes on classic fairytales, you’ll love Dust! It’s a Peter Pan retelling/sequel by the author of The Girl Who Could See. ⁣⁣

👉🏻 PREORDER LINK: http://bit.ly/HN-Dust 👈🏻⁣⁣⁣

stick around for a bit if you want to read my short story (:

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More about Dust…⁣

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real — since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan — and herself.

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Image may contain: sky, text and outdoor

preorder Dust now

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And because my sister has been telling me to publish some original fiction, I now present to you a story I wrote years ago. It was in response to this art prompt by Jamin Still. I didn’t win the contest I entered, but I still like the story and may do something with it someday. Here it is for your reading pleasure.

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sail home someday

“Come with us, Claire,” said David. 

His voice reminded me of days spent playing in the sand together. Years when my answer would have been yes. Read More »

the Wingfeather Saga pre-order is live!

Hello, my friends!

I have a short and exciting post for you today. Andrew Peterson, one of my favorite authors (and my favorite singer-songwriter), is re-releasing his Wingfeather Saga with Waterbrook. This series is a middle-grade fantasy story about three siblings, a lost kingdom, and the mysterious jewels of Anniera. It’s truly beautiful and one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read.

The first two are coming out on March 10 (one week away!) and anyone who pre-orders it (before the release) will also get a newly redesigned map of Glipwood (the setting of the first book).

learn all about the pre-order bonus

read AP’s Facebook post

read the Wingfeather website post about the new editions

check out Waterbrook’s post about the offer

I highly recommend this series and encourage you to check out all the links above. The books are incredible and I can’t wait to see the new editions!

Until next time, my friends!sign off

fantastical realms blog tag

Today I’m doing an amazing tag that Jenelle Schmidt created! This tag goes along with the theme “February is Fantasy Month,” and Jenelle’s also created a linkup and a giant giveaway. All the information for that is in her original post, so go check that out!

As you probably know, fantasy is my very favorite genre, so I’m super excited to do this tag!

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the rules

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you. (Well, I wasn’t technically tagged for this, but Jenelle left it open to anyone who wanted to do it, and I first saw it on Christine’s blog. So thanks to both of you!)
  • Include the graphic somewhere in your post.
  • Link back to Jenelle’s blog somewhere in your post.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag a few blogger friends, and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Have fun!

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the questions + my answers

1 // In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?

I’m in Goldstone Wood! I just recently read Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s series (you may know this, since I think I’ve mentioned it in every post for the past while), and I wish I’d discovered it sooner! It’s fantastic.

But… I’m a burrow grub, or íllgrathr, from the Inheritance Cycle.

. . . it was heavier than it looked, and its underside gripped her with what felt like hundreds of little hooks . . . Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the burrow grub lift up its eyeless head and point it toward her face, as if testing the air. Its tiny mouth opened, and she saw that it had sharp cutting mandibles behind its upper and lower lips . . . there seemed to be something profoundly wrong about the burrow grub. . . . Then its fat, limbless body contracted, and it hopped four, five inches straight up into the air and then dove headfirst toward the inner part of her elbow. As it landed, the burrow grub divided into a dozen small, bright green centipedes, which swarmed over her arm before each chose a spot to sink its mandibles into her flesh and bore its way through her skin . . .

from Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

They are very distasteful creatures, and I have no idea how I’m going to make my way through Goldstone Wood as one. Someone send help.

2 // What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?

I’m going to reference the exact same two series as I did above: I love the character of Solembum, a werecat, in the Inheritance Cycle. And the Tales of Goldstone Wood also feature several characters who have two forms (one animal, one human). One might even be able to be called a werecat…? So I’m going to say that I’d love to see more stories featuring humans that also have an animal forms (or basically shapeshifters of any kind). The Fablehaven/Dragonwatch books also feature this kind of creature, but their “animal” form is a dragon or unicorn, and when they’re human, it’s called an “avatar,” which added a very interesting twist to the story.Read More »