Writing Day: 8/18/2017

Current location: Starbucks
Current WIP: AMOF

Stats:
Word count: 74,306
Today’s WC goal: N/A

So…long time no see! I haven’t done a writing update here in quite a while, and since I last posted I have finished my “first” draft! I have a hard time calling it a true first draft because it has gone through many, MANY evolutions in the past year before being complete. But now, I have a completed manuscript and I am going through the process of self-editing.

At this point in my writing “career” I am pretty confident in my ability to self-edit. I have a clear idea of what I’m trying to fix and I feel as though it would get muddled and forgotten at the point in the process if I let someone else edit for me. We will see where I am at in the future, but for now I trust myself to catch a lot of key issues in my manuscript.

Also…you might have noticed that the name of my WIP has changed and that is because I have finally settled on a title that I am confident about. I’m only giving an acronym for now because it’s definitely a secret (shh!) and also because it may or may not change once I start querying. But for now, I will be calling my WIP/MS “AMOF” for now! Hopefully sometime in the near future you guys will get to see the name in it’s full form!

So far, I have edited about 9 full chapters, written my prologue, and also edited my prologue. When I was first writing this book, I hadn’t intended to write a prologue, but I am actually very happy with how it turned out and I’m glad to have written it after writing the entire novel first.

Wow. That’s just a great thing to say/write. I wrote an entire novel.

When I had initially finished my MS it was a little over 72k words and felt very complete in terms of story (though I would love to make it at least a duology at some point), but I did want to add a prologue and also a few other chapters earlier on of other POVs. It seemed to be missing some aspects of the story that multiple POVs give early on in the book, so I wanted to add that in for clarity.

Anyway, I feel like that’s about as much updating as I need to do in terms of my writing. I don’t want to give everything away! If you’re currently writing and/or editing, then I wish you luck!

Happy writing!

Highlighting Teen Voices in YA

Recently, a really harmful article was published attacking important marginalized and teen voices in the YA community. In the aftermath of this shitstorm, I have been wanting to promote and highlight teen voices within this community and specifically on my blog.

If you are a teen within the YA community and would like to guest write a post for my blog, you can contact me through Twitter @bookfaereads or you can email me @ bookfaereads@gmail.com.

I am looking for posts written by teens about any aspect of the YA community, whether it be teen inclusion, diversity, and other such topics. If you are interested and have a blog post in mind, then let me know!

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye (Review)

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Started: 8/1/2017
Finished: 8/5/2017
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Disclaimer: I looked up the mazurka on YouTube last night and started crying in the club, so one might say I am quite emotional over this book.

How Evelyn Skye managed to write a sequel better than the first book makes her a magical writing fairy and deserving of all of the respect in this dark, dark world. I loved The Crown’s Fate and now it is my child. I will cherish and love it forever.

The Crown’s Fate picks up pretty much where The Crown’s Game left off, so if you haven’t read that then what are you doing reading this review? Go read The Crown’s Game quickly! Please!

Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, Pasha is set to become the Tsar, and Nikolai is supposedly dead. Also Yuliana is still a hard-ass and one of my faves because she is so gosh-darn unlikable. Vika is adjusting to having to abide by every one of Pasha and (mostly) Yuliana’s strict rules, forced to wear a bracelet that ties her directly to the will of the tsardom. Meanwhile, Nikolai is in the Steppe dream bench and unable to procure a physical form and escape. It’s not without the help of his (undead?) mother that he is finally able to leave the Steppe and reenter the real world as nothing more than a shadow of himself. Literally.

The Crown’s Fate continues the magic and whimsy of the first book, but this time with more dire consequences and higher stakes. Nikolai is tainted by his mother’s energy and vindictive over the ending of the Crown’s Game. He sees that Vika had moved on and believes her to be in love with Pasha, fueling the fire burning inside of him. Nikolai finds that he has the strange desire to kill Pasha and overtake the tsardom.

I’m not sure why, but lately I have been loving the sequels in duologies more than the first books. This same thing happened with Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Crooked Kingdom has become one of my favorite and most cherished books.

The Crown’s Fate has beautifully built off the world that Evelyne Skye built and the transition is smooth like butter. Emotions are heightened, characters are further developed, and we get more of Yuliana. And with Nikolai back in the real world, the love triangle continues.

One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about The Crown’s Fate is how little romance plays a part throughout the narrative. The story is not dominated by who Vika will choose and her love (though differing) for both Pasha and Nikolai. The story is about magic and intrigue and the intense politics of an Imperial Russia on the brink of revolution. While The Crown’s Fate is a few decades before the actual Russian Revolution and deals mostly with the Decembrists, the urgency to save Russia is palpable.

This book is such a treasure and gift to my life and my love for Russian history and culture. I love the way that Evelyn Skye makes it known how vast Russia’s culture is and how diverse of a country it is. Russia spans two continents, and sometimes when people write about Russia they forget that. The ethnic diversity in Russia is well-highlighted in this duology.

There is nothing bad I could say about this book. I love it and I’m so glad that I have had the chance to read it and experience the Imperial Russia that Evelyn Skye has created in her historical fantasy.

So You Want To Be A YouTuber

 

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One of the things I hear constantly—and certainly more than I would expect—is “I want to start a YouTube channel but I don’t know how/I don’t know if I should” and my answer is 10 times out of 10: “Go for it!”

Starting a YouTube channel two years ago has been one of the most fun things I have ever done. To put it shortly, I had been watching YouTube religiously since 2006 and it wasn’t until 2015 when I finally decided to dedicate myself to a YouTube channel. It’s never too late to start! Yes, it is harder to gain a following and get views (without buying them which I DO NOT RECOMMEND), but it is well-worth it if you love doing it.

Now, I am certainly not the most popular YouTuber out there, I only just hit 500 subscribers, but I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I think that I have some good insight to share with fellow newbies.

Regardless of genre, here are some things to definitely expect:

  • Gaining subscribers is HARD. If you really want people to watch your videos and see them, make sure that you promote yourself anywhere you can. Make a Twitter account where you can promote yourself and interact with viewers and fellow YouTubers. Make an Instagram for the same purpose. Tags are your BFF. Make sure that your videos are ending up in the right hands. (Eyes? Yeah, maybe eyes. And also maybe ears.)
  • There are going to be really nice people, but there will always be haters. Don’t listen to them. Don’t even engage. Every hate comment I have gotten has gone directly in the trash. I don’t even leave them up. It is entirely up to you whether you delete hate or not, but NEVER ENGAGE. I think that’s the golden rule.
  • People within your video genre (and sometimes outside of your genre) will want to be your friend. Do not feel obligated to be friends with everyone, but be as friendly as possible.
  • Views and subscribers will not come overnight. Most big YouTubers had to wait a year to even get 100 subscribers. Sure, a lot of them started years ago when YouTube wasn’t so saturated with content, but it’s even harder to start up now. Count ever view and subscriber as a victory. Don’t get down about low view counts and subscriber numbers. They will come. (P.S. Amazingphil didn’t get 100 subscribers until the end of his first year on YouTube!)
  • Coming up with video ideas is hard. If you’re just starting out, I recommend doing as many tags, challenges, and other “viral videos” as you can. Definitely mix in some original content, but the silly challenges and tag videos are what will inevitably get people to give your channel a chance. They’re fun, I promise! And you won’t have to do them forever.

Starting my YouTube channel has been one of the greatest joys in my life, and making videos does not require you going out and buying a Mac and the latest Nikon camera. This does not have to be an expensive venture. Of course, you can do those things and your videos will do just fine, but these high-tech gadgets are not required.

Here is a list of things that I use when filming:

  • My 2-year-old iPhone 6
  • A tripod I got from Amazon for about $20
  • Natural light
  • A background consisting of books, small trinkets, and a tapestry I bought on Amazon for $9
  • iMovie app on my phone

I get compliments all of the time on my video quality and many people assume that I use a camera meant for filming video. They’re usually pretty surprised when I tell them I use the front-facing camera on my iPhone 6! But the trick is lock-focus and natural lighting. That’s it. Filming in direct lighting is usually a pretty big no-no, but if you can film at a slight angle from a window where the sun isn’t shining through but you’re still getting the light, then you’re pretty much set.

Don’t worry too much about what camera you use to film or even if you have good lighting or a tripod. For a long time I didn’t have the money for a tripod so I would prop my phone up with books and other miscellaneous items until I could afford something better. There are a lot of YouTubers out there with more subscribers than me with worse lighting and no tripod. These things aren’t keys to success, but they do make your life a little easier.

The main thing to remember when deciding to make a YouTube channel is: do it for yourself. Don’t do it because you think it’s a get-rich-quick scheme, because I can tell you right here that I am getting no money from doing this. After two years of making videos I am still not generating enough views to make money. (And that is not to say that wanting to make money is bad or immoral. But there are much easier ways of making money. YouTube is NOT one of them!) This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Make videos because you love watching YouTube videos and you have something you want to say. Make videos about what YOU love, not what you think is going to get the most views or get you popular the fastest. Those kind of YouTubers fizzle out and die FAST. If you’re making videos about what you love, you’re going to have a blast!

With all of that being said, if you’re wondering whether you should start making videos, here is the sign you’ve been waiting for: DO IT!

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Review)

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Started: 7/31/2017
Finished: 7/31/2017
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

READ THIS BOOK! That would be all I have to say, but I am pretty much bursting at the seams with how much I love this book! Jen Wilde has created a story that can, will, and does speak to so many people and it has provided so much happiness, support, and understanding for me as well. Here we follow two different perspectives. One is of Charlie who is a Chinese-Australian budding YouTube and movie star who has been invited to appear at an American convention called SupaCon. The other perspective is that of Taylor who is one of Charlie’s best friends and she’s a super fangirl who is autistic and also has anxiety. The entirety of the book takes place at the convention and hi-jinks, love, and fun ensues!

I loved the representation and diversity in this book. One of our main characters, Charlie, is Chinese-American and embraces her culture. There is also autism and anxiety rep (Taylor), bisexuality rep (Charlie), and lesbian rep (Alyssa – Charlie’s love interest).

The description of anxiety in this book is spot on. I have never read a better representation of what anxiety feels like on a day-to-day basis as I have in this book. It’s as if Jen Wilde has tapped into my brain and put into words what I have never been able to explain to other people. I really wish people in my life who don’t have anxiety would read this book and finally understand what it’s like. I felt like I could really relate to Taylor and the things that she’s gone through trying to understand and relieve her anxiety.

The romance in this book was top-notch. It was so sweet and angsty and fluffy and absolutely wonderful! It was so much fun watching the romances blossom and lines get crossed and misunderstandings unfold. Sometimes I read so much fantasy that I forget how much fun contemporary romances can be.

Just as a little warning, I wanted to let people know that there are some bimisic comments from the antagonist (Charlie’s ex-boyfriend Reese) so beware of that if that is something that makes you uncomfortable.

Over all, I absolutely loved this book. I am so impressed by the contemporaries I have been reading this year. None of them have disappointed me thus far and Queens of Geek is no exception. This truly is a love letter to fandom members and I can’t wait to reread it in the future!

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes (Review)

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Started: 7/23/2017
Finished: 7/26/2017
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆

The cover was what really drew me in to Falling Kingdoms. It had a very cool Assassin’s Creed vibe to me, and now having read the book I can see the symbolism and how things tie in with the story. This book has been marketed as a Game of Thrones for teens, and I could see where people would get that idea. Falling Kingdoms is a fantasy story about three feuding kingdoms, Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia. Aurano is rich and overflowing with crops while Limeros is stuck in what seems like a never-ending winter. Paelsia is the poorest of the three kingdoms, it’s only source of income its failing wine industry. We follow quite a few characters and their points of view, all from different kingdoms. The main character throughout this story arc is Princess Cleo of Auranos. She is young, naive, and headstrong. She doesn’t want to marry the man she is betrothed to and she wants to save her sister from a strange and unknown illness that she fears will kill her.

The intrigue and drama felt a little juvenile to me and I didn’t feel like everything was such high stakes. The main characters seemed to be fairly submissive when it came to the plot of the story rather than taking active roles. The ones taking active roles in spurring the plot were minor characters, those adjacent to the main characters. I wanted things to be higher stakes and slightly more complex, but what I did appreciate from this book was that the teenagers felt like teenagers. They were unsure of themselves, easily swayed, and also stubborn and had invincibility-complexes.

I suppose if we’re going to continue with the comparison to Game of Thrones, there are a lot of characters and story lines to keep track of, there are quite a few deaths, and also complex relationships. If there is anything at all in Game of Thrones that makes you uncomfortable, this is probably not the book for you. Almost every element from Game of Thrones is used in this book (including hints as possible incest).

Elemental magic also plays a big role within this story and the turning of the plot. This is a world where witches are put to death for even being suspected of using magic, and where sorcerers/sorceresses are the more powerful versions of witches. I really liked the magic system in this book. I found it simple enough to be understood and complex enough to be believed and enjoyed. I haven’t read too many books with elemental magic, so it was nice to be able to experience that for the first time.

I did enjoy reading Falling Kingdoms, but I wasn’t as impressed by it as I had hoped I would be. I wasn’t sure whether to make this a 3-star read or a 3.5-star read, but I will be placing this in my 3-star category for now. I’m not sure if I will pick up the next book. Perhaps if I’m still thinking about the book in the next week or so I will order the second one. Overall, Falling Kingdoms was a fun read, but certainly not one I would put on my favorites shelf.

Writing Day: 7/25/2017

Current location: Starbucks
Current WIP: #GayAdventureStory

Stats:
Word count: 63,233
Today’s WC goal: 2,000

I wrote roughly around 3k words on my last writing day, so I’m up-ing my goal to 2k words today. I like to low-ball my goals a little so I know that I can hit them and I’ll feel accomplished. I think the origin of my writing slumps are due to feeling like I haven’t accomplished what I feel like I should. And if low-balling my goals a little helps, then I’m not going to change it.

I took a few days off since my last writing day, but I’ve been plotting in between then and I am pretty much 100% on how this is going to end and how I’m going to get there. I want to leave this MS open for a sequel, but I guess that all decides on my future publisher and what they think is best or most profitable. My goal is to make this a duology, but I could also potentially see this project being a series with multiple books. However, I don’t want to limit myself to just this story, and a duology frees me up to work on other projects.

That’s not to say that many writers don’t work on multiple series at a time, but I just know what I can swallow at this point in my life, and perhaps when I’m more financially stable and out of school I could do something bigger. I know that at some point I would love to do a big fantasy series, but that’s jut not in the cards for me as of now.

Anyway, those are just some of my writing thoughts for the day. I want to thank everyone who has checked out my blog and followed me! I didn’t really think anyone would be even remotely interested in what I have to say, so that means a lot.

Happy writing!