Allison Reads Bronte: Jane Eyre, Part One

Reader, you could say I’m a little obsessed with the Brontes.  I’ve been rereading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, mostly after having written a “LEAVE MR. ROCHESTER ALONE” rant based solely on memory and Wikipedia. Since I love ranting about Bronte books, I think I’ll use this as an opportunity to post a long, blow-by-blow review of Jane Eyre as I read it.  I’d apologize for boring and inconveniencing you all, but I’m not sorry in the least. 😛

At the moment, I’m in the book’s early chapters.  So far, the story’s chronicling Jane’s unhappy childhood.  She is bullied frequently by her cousins and aunt-by-marriage, and the servants tend to turn on her in any familial conflict.  (More on that later.)

In these early chapters, we’re introduced to a shy, quiet girl who loves to read and has some really novel perspectives on the world she lives in.  This is the Jane whose character captivated me as a reader.  At this point, I’m seeing the beginnings of the proto-feminist “strong female character” modern analysts praise (despite the book and character’s seemingly counter-feminist shortcomings later on).  When I read about this young Jane, I want to be this kid’s friend so badly.  I want to be a superhero trio that smashes injustice with her and Helen Burns (her friend you’ll meet later). Continue reading →

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The 5 Big Mistakes I Made When Self-Publishing My First Book

You Write Fiction

A lot of people think Where the Woods Grow Wild was my debut novel. It’s actually not, but I’m totally okay treating it as such because my very first self-published novel was a bit (fine, a lot) of a fiasco in its inception. Some of you have read it: Little One, published just about two years ago and republished (with a lot of improvements) a few months later.

I’ve written about this in past posts and random tweets, but I decided to share the five biggest mistakes I made when first self-publishing Little One. Most of them were due to an utter lack of experience, so if you’re building towards your first release, maybe I can save you some trouble.

#1 Not asking for beta readers

News flash: beta readers are amazing. They should be an integral part of your self-pub journey. They’re the first eyes to see…

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Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Hey guys, guess what?  I read a YA book and actually loved every page of it!

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson had me riveted to the page, and I’m not just pulling a book reviewer phrase out of a hat here.  I read the entire book in a day, stopping only for meals and chores, and when I did stop, I got antsy.  I needed to know what happened next in the fictional world of Lee Westfall.  I can read quickly when I’m reading a physical book, but I haven’t been this transfixed by a one in ages.

Summary (as told by yours truly): It’s 1849, and our protagonist is a tomboyish girl from the state of Georgia named Leah “Lee” Westfall.  She’s an only child and her father’s ill, so she does most of the manly work on their farm, including hunting.  So among her peers, she’s already considered a bit weird.  What’s even weirder is that she has a secret ability to sense gold.  This ability has brought wealth to her family, though they can’t really cash in on it without raising suspicion.  Plus, there isn’t much of it anymore in her locale, but there’s talk of finding even more of it in California.  Her best friend Jefferson wants to go west in search of it, and wants Lee to join him.  As tempting as this sounds, Lee hesitates.  Then one day, Lee comes home to find her mother and father murdered, and their hidden supply of gold stolen; at the funeral, she identifies the culprit by the teeny traces of gold dust, imperceptible to the naked eye, that remain on his/her person.  He/she knows about Lee’s secret ability – as the culprit closes in on her, Lee prepares her escape.  Disguised as a boy, she heads West on her own, hoping to reunite with Jeff along the way.  The road is rough, and the company of travelers she joins faces a series of trials, from disease to theft to mysteries only a gold seer can solve.

I can’t get over how tastefully Ms. Carson dealt with so many different subjects and issues.  There’s a lot of underlying social commentary which gets conveyed super-subtly in the way the characters behave and interact.  In short, this book excels at being showy, not telly. Continue reading →

Oh, Winter

I find myself writing about the weather once more.  This was written in the midst of an unexpected winter blizzard.  Here’s hoping the weather’s a bit more springlike by the time this post comes out!

 

My goodness, Winter

You said you’d never come back

After our last fight

After that last flight

You ran away that night

 

Yet here you are, Winter

Hurling daggers from the clouds

At my smug smiling face

At this maddening pace

A swirl of white, icy lace

 

Oh, Winter…

 

Please learn to share, Winter

With your seasonal sisters

Fall’s mournful cinders

Springtime’s hush

Fair, beautiful Summer’s blush

 

I’m glad you’re back, Winter

In honesty, I enjoy your company

But time’s passed along

I’m afraid I’ve moved on

Find someplace else to snow upon

 

Ch1Con Blog Tour 2017!

Chapter One Conference

Hey, everybody! We’re thrilled to announce the Ch1Con Blog Tour 2017!

We put together this annual blog tour to share info and fun, behind-the-scenes facts about the Chapter One Young Writers Conference (and to give away some awesome prizes, of course). The 2017 blog tour will kick off on Saturday, April 15 and conclude at the end of May. Follow the tour for guest posts, interviews by the Ch1Con team–and, of course, giveaways of books and critiques!

2017 ch1con blog tour banner

Check out the schedule below:
  • Saturday, April 15: www.juliathewritergirl.com
    • Ch1Con founder Julia Byers interviews Ch1Con team members Ariel Kalati and Emma Ryan
    • Giveaway: SIGNED copy of History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera!
  • Monday, April 17: www.yainterrobang.com
    • Special news piece! (Not technically part of the tour, but we’re including it here since it’s happening at the same time!)
  • Tuesday, April 18: www.anniesullivanauthor.wordpress.com
    • 2017 workshop leader Annie Sullivan interviews Ch1Con founder…

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Why I Stand for You

Standing for you puts me in a box

In which I don’t, won’t ever belong

It suggests I endorse bold, brash stupidity

Eye to eye, you and I rarely ever see

But I stand for you anyway

Because no one else will

 

I stand for you because you’re family

Even though we don’t always agree

You’re my spirited sister, going alone

My wayward brother, off on his own

My love for you is as thick as blood

Blood others tried (and failed) to spill

 

I don’t stand when your goddesses sing

I sit in protest of our misunderstanding

You’ve hurt me greatly

You’ve broken my faith

But I still stand for you

When no one else will