Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Art of Book Journaling

Journaling is a big deal in today's world. There's longhand for the ambitious and the all-new bullet journaling for the creative. Today I'm going to talk about the new sort I've explored, and why I think you should give it a shot.


I am not a journaler. I've tried for so many years to journal my life and it just . . . never happens.

I was first compelled to journal a book when I participated in a book club this summer. It was part of the assignment: to find something new and creative to do as you read.

So I tabbed pages and quotes as I read the first book, Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan. I found it amazing how much more themes and quotes stood out to me, when subconsciously looking for them! Since the book is middle-grade and set in Africa it was an easy read, but had lots of wildlife. Thus the extra thing I added was pictures of the birds Rachel mentioned and characteristics of them.


The second book I journaled (also for book club) was An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I could not wait to do this one since it is one of my favorite books! As you can tell, I used plenty of tabs.


This time I even color coded them: green for a quote or observation, purple for something I could formulate a question off of for book club. (I am going to lead this session and will post a PDF with the questions for you guys to answer!) With some fine point pens my friend gave me for graduation, I was able to make the journaling I did match the tabs. I love it when colors have a purpose :)


The purpose of tabbing is so that I don't have to stop reading; I can just flag something I like and journal it later. So that was awesome.

Another book I journaled was If I Run by Terri Blackstock. This one I picked up from the library after becoming curious. I had no intention of journaling it until I realized what a good subject it would be a few pages in! Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of this one before I had to rip out all of my beautiful blue tabs and return the book to the library :(


I was so thrilled that this book included discussion questions, that not only did I journal this book, I typed up all of my journal notes on it and decided to share them with you! I figure it is the best way to show you exactly how I do it. (Probably best not to read it if you haven't read the book, or intend to. Some mild spoilers are contained.) You can click here or check it out on my Reviews page.

I haven't decided what book I'm going to journal next, but it shall be glorious! It really does help me get more out of a book. Since writing things down helps me remember them anyway, I've found this a very good way to retain more of what I read.


I highly recommend that all of you try journaling a book at some point. If you're going to do it, some tips:

  • you cannot journal too much your first time!
  • pick a low-key book to begin with
  •  use a journal that can lay flat
  • make it your own (pictures, doodles, quotes, song lyrics, research)
  • share pictures with me! :)
~~~~~
I'm so excited about everything I've discovered while journaling! Have you read any of the books I mentioned? I highly recommend all three of them, especially for journaling. How do you book journal? What kind of journaling do you most enjoy?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Time to Die ~ Blog Tour/Review

This book, you guys. No promises that this review will be more than rambling about its awesomeness. Also, prepare for links. Lots and lots of links. Yes, of course I expect you to click them all!


~Back Cover~


How would you live if you knew the day you'd die? Parvin Blackwater believes she has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside. In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her clock is running out.

~Characters~

Parvin ~ I related to her. Unlike the "typical" YA heroine, she pulled off the misfit really well. She's only different on the inside; she fits in otherwise. All she wants is to be stand out enough to be remembered, but not in a showy, stuck-up way. Viewing herself as weak, she's a bit of a self-downer, but always moves on and moves forward.

Jude ~ Oh my word. I get the impression not everyone likes this character, but I did!! He wasn't a complete dream or nightmare; he wasn't very good, but he wasn't bad at all! I appreciated that he could be kind, funny, hateful, apologetic, stuck up, and sullen. It made him 100x more real than lots of characters I've read.

Willow ~ The tiny albino girl. I loved her spunk, maturity, adorableness, and compassion. She was able to respect her village's rules and still remain loyal to her friends. I want to be her.

Skelley Chase ~ *shudder* With just a few blatant descriptors, I had a vibrant dislike any time this fellow was mentioned. And I also happened to cast Ben Kingsley in my mind. Don't ask about that one.

Do you know how hard it was to refrain from including Solomon Hawke, Mrs. Newton, and Reid? You gotta read the book(s)!


~Setting~

Being dystopian, it's futuristic America. Except now it's the West and the USE (United States of East). A great Wall separates the two, and no one from either side has a clear idea of what would await them if they (for some insane reason) wanted to make it over. The East is developed, under government control, and "civilized." The West is a wasteland, with presumed primitive culture, if there are any survivors at all.

~Plot/Theme~

Time. I really loved this element, not only as a good storytelling device, but as an ingrained part of society. Parvin finds strength and fear in her Clock and it's all very beautiful. 

Purpose. This is something else Parvin struggles with. She wants to do be remembered, make a difference, and do what she's supposed to. But how is she to know? Her Clock is ticking. God had better stop being cryptic and hurry up if He cares about her at all.

~Overall~

10/10 shrooms. Yep, that's equivalent to 5 stars! Despite what you may think, I do not hand these out like candy, so take me seriously here ;) Everything was original, well-told, fresh, descriptive, riveting, and completely in touch with me. I loved how Nadine approached weaving Parvin's struggling faith. The book made me cry twice in a three hour time span, so that alone earns it bonus points. Don't get me started on the cover. It was a mere convenience that the photo size resulted in such glorious formatting ;)

~The Exciting Part~

Why all the hype? Well, besides the fact that it's an awesome book, there are two more in the series. The final book, A Time to Rise, comes out October 14! Needless to say, much of the world is jumping for joy. It's not too late to help spread the word! *insert Nadine wants YOU sign*


  • Pre-order!! You can get some awesome swag, I'm told (Just. Do. It.)
  • You can include this nifty countdown:


  • Review any of the books you've read on Amazon, Goodreads, etc
  • Twitter users, join Nadine's Thunderclap event
  • Facebook users can attend Nadine's party
  • Pinterest users can drool over the boards(header photo cred)

~About the Author~

Who is this insanely awesome Nadine person, you ask? Here's what she calls her long, boring bio. Check out her website and blog for her fun and quirky personality!

I am an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. I never received my Hogwarts letter, but rest assured I’m no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family-size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. I write about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. My dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged me to pursue shalom, which is now my favorite word (followed closely bybumbershoot.) When I’m not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, me and my knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.

~~~~~
Have you read this awesome book? (I cannot wait for #2 and #3.) Please no spoilers from any of the books, so those who have yet to discover this series can relish in the full potential! What are you waiting for? Order the entire series! If not for you, then for someone else (not a hint) :)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Three Way Tag

I have gotten tagged three times recently. All the tags were so good, I couldn't say no to any of them. So I hope you can excuse the length for the intriguing questions. Because of this combination, I'm not going to follow all the rules, so you'll have to visit the links I give if you would like to participate more properly :)


First, Rebekah with The Authors are Rising Tag:


1~ How long have you been writing?
As long as I can remember! I truly can't remember a time when everything I watched and read didn't inspire a spin-off story, whether it made it to paper or not :)
2~ What made you decide to become an author?
Every one of those stories I wrote as I kid I viewed as a potential publication, so I guess I was born with that desire. I can't remember deciding! But I chose to seriously consider publishing a work last spring when I had a dream that inspired my current novel. I stuck with it because an actual plot came together.
3~ Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Quite often it is a bizarre dream that sparks a fresh story line, though :)
4~ What's a favorite quote from a book/story you've written?
Well, I got tired of looking. So here's this one from Martin Hospitality:


The two hour drive to Wichita passed quickly and with little mishap. Josiah had been the navigator.
“You’ll need the next exit,” he said.
“No, it’s not until after the bridge, right?”
“Mom, it’s this exit right here. You’ll have to be in the right lane. Mom!”
“Oh, that one?” She craned her neck to see it. “Well, there it goes. Never mind, we’ll take the next one, dear.”
Josiah threw up his hands. “Mom, why am I even navigating if you aren’t going to listen?”
5~ What's the title of the favorite story you've written?
Andora's Folly.
6~ Do you prefer writing in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person?
I do not like 2nd person. 3rd person is my go-to, but I have issues with POV. So trying 1st might cure me of that ;)
7~ Who's an author you tend to write like?
I've been told Louisa May Alcott and C. S. Lewis, though I wouldn't boast either of those on a broad level.]! Perhaps Janette Oke or Grace Livingston Hill, though I hope I'm not quite like them :)
8~ Do you write in short bursts fairly often, or several thousand words in one sitting but with larger breaks between sittings?
Large bursts (as in entire afternoons) and then I don't touch the story for another week. Instead, it percolates in my mind. 
9~ Have you ever had scenes (usually written late at night and discovered the next morning) when something happens in your story that you weren't expecting? If so, could you tell us what it was?
Well, I added Weasley the cat to Martin Hospitality and I wasn't planning on that.
10~ What's an odd writing quirk you have?
Typing while laying on my stomach. Pretty sure I bruised a rib doing it the other day!
11~ What's the weirdest thing you've researched for a story?
Google Maps of Wichita (walking down the streets with that little drag-and-drop-guy), mad cow disease, and paternal rights in Kansas, and medieval and/or Greek wedding ceremonies. Nothing too exotic yet :)

12~ And...one last thing: Give us a peek into how you write by sharing either a 150 word story/poem or a snippet from one of your longer stories.
This is the first draft of my prologue's conclusion from Andora's Folly:


          "It was not until he gave up harassing Zeph and lunged for Lady Vera that Zeph sprung into action. His blade had been well-forged by a hand that was well-trained and its plunge did not miss the mark.
           The eldest of the sons cried out in horror as his father fell and the youngest burst into tears. Only the middle one remained silent, much as his father would have in a sober state of mind. What was to become of them now that they owed so great a debt to their father’s sworn enemy and now his murderer?
           Zeph was kind enough to provide another house for the boys—a cottage on the outskirts of the village that bordered his own woods. But he did not possess enough mercy to forgive the debt entirely. So the boys became indentured to him at an age hardly old enough to haul wood. The village saw little of them and could do little to help since they were all afflicted themselves, but still they worked on, determined to repay their father’s debt.
           And all the while Zeph’s little girl, whose blue eyes had grown so large at the sight of the brawl, played happily in her meadow. Her one instruction was that she was never, on any circumstance, to enter the wood."


The Wisteria Writers Tag comes from Morning:

1~ Take your most despised store. Describe what it looks like and why you hate it. Now, imagine your protagonist and antagonist of your current WIP visiting the store for the first time, separately. How would they react, and what would they buy? ("Nothing," won't be an acceptable answer!)

I can't think of a store I truly despise, but I am not a fan of Dollar Generals. The ones near my house are usually disorganized, dirty, and tightly compacted. Going from Andora's Folly, Andora would be a little overwhelmed and sweep through while holding her skirt up. She would settle on something pretty for her hair. Rome could care less about the condition and would purchase a hatchet.
2~ Do you have quirky writing rituals you need to in order to begin writing, such as editing with the door closed and a purple pen, all while wearing mismatched fuzzy socks? If you do, describe them.

I prefer to have a snack, drink, notes, pens, and silence before I get started. Otherwise, I end up running around finding all of those things. I'm not sure that's too unusual, though ;)
3~ Which of your characters from your WIP embodies what your entire writing process resembles?
Using Andora's Folly again, Andora very much represents my writing process. Andora is conceited, proud, means well, but good intention only gets her so far. Eventually she has to learn to roll up her sleeves and dive in if she wants to accomplish anything :)
4~ List the top three writing conferences you'd want to visit.
Realm Makers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Writer's Digest, in that order.
5~ If you had to collaborate with a published author, who would it be and what would you two write about?
I would collaborate with Connilyn Cossette on Biblical Historical Fiction surrounding the vinedressers who were left behind during the Babylonian Captivity (2 Kings 25:12).
6~ Your sources of inspiration?
Life. Small details, little known facts, unique names. The way I perceive things and how I would describe a sensation in the moment.
7~ Quick! You're on a five minute break from editing--but your first choice of food to snack on ran out! Name your other two brain foods.
No chocolate?! Then I would go to chips of any variety or fresh blueberries. Or Mexican food :D
8~ What's a writing-related question that bothers you when people ask?
"What's your book about?" I get asked this a lot, and it's a good question. But I feel like I can never explain it well, so . . . yeah. Not my favorite :)
9~ List two songs that would describe both the good and bad sides of your deuteragonist.
I'm gonna admit, I had to look up that last word (but I guessed right)! My second main character in Martin Hospitality is probably Josiah Martin, since he shares POV. This was hard to do!
Good side:


Bad side:

10~ Up to this point, what is your current word count for this post?
1,615 words

Micaiah brings us the final tag, Would You Rather:

1~ Would you rather read only trilogies or stand-alones?
Probably trilogies for the character and world building. :)
2~ Would you rather read only male or female authors?
Hm . . . probably female, actually. All my favorites are by women. (Did not realize that until now.)
3~ Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?
For books? B&N. I mean, forget my budget. But if I could only shop at one ever, I would sadly have to go with Amazon, due to variety, prices, and free shipping.
4~ Would you rather have books become T.V. shows or movies?
Probably movies. Generally, I prefer several movies in a row to a TV show. I mean, can you see The Hunger Games, Anne of Green Gables, or Harry Potter as a TV show? I didn't think so.
5~ Would you rather read five pages a day or five books a week?
Since I do have a life don't look so surprised, I would have to say 5 pages a day. I feel like that's about all I manage anyhow. About once a season/holiday, I have a 5 books a week spree :)
6~ Would you rather be a professional reviewer or an author?
An author. I enjoy reviewing books, but I put it off, and it takes me forever!
7~ Would you rather read your top 20 favorite books over and over again, or always read new ones you've never read before?
New ones, methinks. I enjoy new perspectives and fresh ideas. Besides, if it would be active starting now, I've already reread most of my favorites ;)
8~ Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?
Bookseller is a little vague. Cashier at a bookstore? Self-promotion of my own books? Either way, probably a bookseller. Organization would be my favorite part of a library :)
9~ Would you rather read only your favorite genre(s) or anything but your favorite?
Probably my favorite? They're my favorite for a reason. I would be branching out enough by having to read only new books ;)
10~ Would you rather read only physical books or e-books?
Only physical books! Forgive me, dear bank account.
~~~~~
And there you have it: three tags at once!! Take a deep breath and take some chocolate if you actually read all of that. Answer some of your favorite questions in the comments, or debate my answers if you dared to disagree. ;)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Vlog and Ramblings

I'm bringing you my first ever vlog today as part of a link-up! Go check out Ivy's page for details and instructions to join! :)


~Link-Up~


*inhale* *exhale*



Once I got going, this was really fun and it didn't feel nearly so weird talking to a screen! The ending is lame because my sister walked into our room and threw me off. But she froze and backed out like a good girl, hehe. Thank you all so much for watching! Sorry for the dim lighting (my room is weird). I'll film it somewhere else next time. :) Let me know if you're going to do the link-up!!

Oh and before you ask: yes, my hair is actually that color and yes it's actually that very strange breed of half-curly. I don't know where it came from, but that's okay ;)

~Catch-Up~


There are a couple things that have been going on lately that I want to mention not in a wrap-up post :)

First, my betas! They are so incredible. I love every single one of you. There is just nothing like the feeling of someone really enjoying your book even in a flawed state! People are shipping my characters, having book-related dreams, finding music, rambling on social media about it . . . *happy sigh* It's just so amazing!! But they're giving me honest feedback, which is what makes them so helpful. I'll have plenty to tweak and revise as I read through it one more time before my editor gets her chance. 

Second, I am now on Goodreads!! Yes, that is new news, because now I am an author on Goodreads. *gasp* That means all of my lovely betas can add Martin Hospitality as a current read (*hint hint*). The rest of you lovelies would be doing me the biggest favor ever if you would add it to your to-read list!! My betas helped me decided that I would publish under the name Abigayle Claire, so that's the name on my author profile. Here's the link to the book :)

Third, Martin Hospitality now has a public Pinterest board that you can check out! There aren't any true spoilers in there unless you don't want to know the baby's gender/name before you read the book ;) Click here to check it out and please comment on the pictures so I know your thoughts!

Also in the realm of other book obscurity, I have a cover underway (hopefully), an editor hired, a formatter lined up, and ISBN figured out. The release will be early December through Createspace (quite possibly 3 months from today!). Hopefully a blog tour and giveaway and all that jazz will come together as well . . .

Having nothing to do with my book at all, I have a very awesome obscure guest post up on Mary's blog. Go check it out!

Thank you guys so much for your support! Again, I hope you enjoyed the vlog! Please, please do one. Please? I really want to see your videos. It's my new favorite way of getting to know people. There's so much you can't get through a screen :)

~~~~~

Okay, so what surprised you when you watch the vlog? My voice, hair, mannerisms? I think it'd be interesting to know how I strike people :)


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Goodbye August

Well that month passed much faster than it needed to! Welcome to September :)

Life


The Olympics. *happy sigh* You may have seen a lot of things on Twitter about them and I have no regrets. I can't even tell you how much I love Olympics. And I think I've decided that I like summer better than winter. You just can't beat swimming, gymnastics, and volleyball. Which is good, because that's basically all that was aired this year xD Figure skating is the only thing that comes close :) And our women's gymnastics and beach volleyball teams are some of my favorites. So I thoroughly enjoyed that lovely excuse for procrastination ;)

Well, it was August. That word invokes sweltering heat with absolutely no moisture. Not so!!! This year we only broke 100° for about a week and then . . . right before my birthday: RAIN!!! It has rained off and on for the last two weeks of August, significantly lowering the temperatures. I was so excited!! I don't think you understand how much it means to have my favorite sort of weather on my birthday :D


Obviously, my birthday happened, too! I turned 18, which meant that after a full day of gift shopping (I got new makeup, typewriterly stamps, awesome clothes, a great movie, a laptop bag, an orchid, and money) I was faced with registering to vote and renewing my permit.


After I renewed my permit, Mom made me order at Starbucks. In the drive-thru! I don't think you understand how much drive-thrus scare me. It had no turns, which is the only reason I agreed to do it. But talking to people through a speaker is almost as bad as talking to people on the phone AKA an irrational fear of mine!! But I had a frappuccino at the end of it all, so it was okay :)

Then my big piece of news: I hired an editor!! I decided to go ahead and check into October dates since September is devoted to my betas and I found one lovely, Christian editor with extremely reasonable pricing and flexibility. I am so thrilled to have that squared away satisfactorily. And since she's not available until late October, that gives me plenty of time to square away this lovely editing thing. :)

Words


~Vocabulary~

lam ~ verb: hit someone hard; attack

marquee ~ noun: American: a rooflike projection over the entrance to a theater, hotel, or other building. British: a large tent used for social or commercial functions.

cathartic ~ adjective: providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis; chiefly (of a drug) purgative.

~Quotes~

"Soldiers are humans in a pressure cooker."

"I take pleasure in pointing out the bright sides to Molly, because when I do, I remind myself they exist."

"'It's just . . . if I can't be a hero in my own life, maybe I can be one in someone else's.'"

~ Terri Blackstock, If I Run

"Some things you cannot wish away or think away. They become part of you when you remember them." ~ Alice Hoffman, Incantation

"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true-the joy of anticipating is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life." ~ Maria Augusta von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers


Books


~Cover to Cover: 2~

If I Run by Terri Blackstock
Incantation by Alice Hoffman

~Middle to End: 2~

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta von Trapp
An Old-Fashioned Girl by Lousia May Alcott

~Front to Middle: 2~

Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debbi Jones
Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
(had to return this one to my library before I finished :( )


Writings


~Words: -----~

Words? What are words? I began a short story and that's around 1,500 words. And I edited 16 chapters of my story. So I don't really have a number for you because  that's how lazy I am xD

~Chapters: 16~ 

Again, I edited 16 chapters of my novels because IT'S GOING TO BETAS!

~Progress Update: 50%

The other half that I'm supposed to be editing? It's going, too, I just . . . yeah. Betas may not get the second half until the second half of September. Hehe. Sorry guys.

~Biggest Problem: Olympics~

In other words, distractions xD I am in a major reading/writing/editing slump and I'm going to have to heave myself out of it. Having my betas zipping through my book should be motivation, right? ;)


Blogs


~Followers: 59~

That's +6 again without any effort on my part. Thank you guys!

~Views: 14,493 ~

I think I'm the first one to care about this sort of thing, but I love this stat! :)


Goals


My August goals were:

1~ Completely edit my novel
Weeeeeell, the Olympics got in the way of this. Major time. I totally did not figure them in.
2~ Complete Jesseca's "A Question of Honor"
I forgot this was one of my goals, and I'm only about halfway through :( But I'm loving it and told her I would finish in two weeks :)
3~ Read 3 books (cover to cover)
I did a Twitter Readathon and pledged two books while it ran this weekend. Those were the only two I managed cover to cover, but I got to a lot else! Hehe . . .
4~ Share a bad review
So it wasn't tooooo bad, but it was a low amount of mushrooms :) You can read it here.
5~ Do a Camp NaNo post
Check! This one was super fun. You can read it here.

My September goals are:

1~ Have fun with beta readers
I am so excited about this!!! I have 16, I think? We'll see what happens :D
2~ Complete Jesseca's "A Question of Honor"
Again :)
3~ Figure out Martin Hospitality's cover design
This is the one thing I don't have ironed out yet.
4~ Do a vlog
*screams* I love these, but videos scare me so much. Ivy Rose has tagged me for a link-up now, so it's gonna happen. I'm accepting questions! (I'll emphasize this in a later post).
5~ Figure out how to install a "Tweet this" link
Putting this on my to-do list means it will get done, right?

~~~~~

Did your August FLY?! Did you watch the Olympics? Did it rain for you? What are you looking forward to this fall?