Posted in Uncategorized

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…

View original post 737 more words

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Reviews, Uncategorized

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 “Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson”

Posted in Uncategorized

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:
    • 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:
    • 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:
    • 2017 workshop leader Annie Sullivan interviews Ch1Con founder…

View original post 218 more words

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Uncategorized

Jane Eyre on the Page and Screen + In Defense of Mr. Rochester?

Disclaimer: My memories of Jane Eyre in book and film form are admittedly a bit sketchy, as it’s been a while since I viewed them.  That said, I feel everything I’ve written below, however well-intended, should be taken with a grain of salt.

Additionally, please be aware that Jane Eyre does deal with some mature subject matter along the lines of marital fidelity, and I’ve referenced some of it in this post.

A couple of years ago, I read the abridged version of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.  I loved the story so much, especially all the parts about the creepy lady who haunted the Fairfax manor in the night, that I wanted to read the original.  There was much more to the story than creepy ladies, though, which drew me in even further.  Then, out of curiosity, I decided to watch one of the film adaptations – I chose the 1997 British TV movie version, starring Samantha Morton and Ciaran Hinds.

It was a cute, albeit condensed narrative.  We really don’t have much opportunity to see Jane shine as a character onscreen, in this version or (I’m assuming) others.  I understand, we’ve only got just under two hours to convey 178,404 flowery, drawn-out written words (which is approximately 356.808 pages).  And we all know movies can never stay 100% faithful to the books upon which they’re based.  Somewhere along the way, we’re going to be disappointed.

What I enjoyed so much in the original, unabridged Jane Eyre book was seeing the world through Jane’s eyes.  She witnesses so much injustice and hypocrisy: in her early childhood, where she’s neglected by her foster family; in school, with that hypocritical monster of a headmaster who abused religion as a basis for persecuting others of lesser means; in her childhood friendships, taken away from her by illnesses contracted in deplorable living conditions.  Even if Jane was held back by circumstance from doing anything significant about the injustices she witnessed, there was a beautiful intelligence to her perceptions.  I found that intelligence appealing, which is why I continued to read this long, classic novel with some romantic overtones.

I think Mr. Rochester found it appealing too, which is why he wanted to marry her and be with her for the rest of their lives.  All that gets glossed over in most movies – instead, the focus is on Jane’s seemingly bizarre romance with the much-older Mr. Rochester.  After all, who doesn’t love a nice, romantic movie where the gullible young woman marries a creepy old bigamist, and they all live happily ever after?

….Which brings me to the main point of this post: defending Mr. Rochester. Continue reading “Jane Eyre on the Page and Screen + In Defense of Mr. Rochester?”

Posted in Uncategorized

A Letter to a Friend Just Starting Out Indie Publishing

This is a wonderful letter written by an awesome writing friend, which ought to be shared with all writing friends who are new to the self-publishing world! And even if you’re not a newbie, it’s an excellent refresher / guide for what to do next time. 🙂

Fiction by Rachael Ritchey

So, I have a friend who is a published author, but her publishing company recently shut their doors. It was probably for the best, and in the midst of it a gift actually came in the ability for this dear author friend to take her work to the next level.

It will be so much better than it was with that failed publishing house for a few reasons, but one that is foremost in my mind is that her artistic vision can be put into the hands of people who really care about seeing it thrive, to capture its beauty, and are passionate about making that creative presence shine in the modern publishing industry.

My friend has thus far been shy about drawing attention to herself, but I want to help her draw attention to what she is trying to share with the world, so as I help her take…

View original post 613 more words

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Uncategorized, Writer's Jukebox

Writer’s Jukebox: Haikyuu!! OST

I can never remember the name of this show, only its unique punctuation and the epicness of its soundtrack.  But I’ve been listening to its soundtrack fairly often – it’s very dramatic and upbeat, which is great for when your mind’s gone all sluggish and you’ve got five papers to hand in before Wednesday.

My favorite track in this set is “Kamiwaza Sokko,” which seems to be using strings in place of guitars – I like the sound of classical instruments used them to achieve that rock ‘n’ roll sound. 😀

Posted in Miscelaneous Musings, Uncategorized

Writer’s Jukebox: “Brave” by Amarante

Of all places, I first heard this track in a fashion accessory tutorial video on YouTube. The style and the singer’s voice is reminiscent of BØRNS, whose Candy EP I enjoyed to an extent.  I think this is one of those songs I like to have playing in the background while I’m writing things of the homework variety, but I can see myself writing poetry while listening to this as well. 🙂