Beautiful Books Tag 2017

Hey, everyone! You may remember that for the past few months I’ve been doing the Beautiful People link up with Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. However, I didn’t do one in September because… Cait didn’t post the questions. But just when I was starting to think that one of my favorite blog link ups had left the internet forever, lo and behold! Cait and Sky are back this month with a new set of questions, and a new theme for October.


What exactly is Beautiful Books?

Beautiful Books is a special October theme of the Beautiful People meme hosted by Cait and Sky. It’s designed to help authors share some fun facts about their current work-in-progress/NaNoWriMo project. From Cait’s blog:

Sky and I host Beautiful Books so we can focus on  our NaNoWriMo projects. The format is the same as Beautiful People. We post 10 questions to answer about your WiP — aka your beautiful book. Answer the questions in a blog post of your own and then come back here to link up! 

Beautful Books


DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that everything here is or will be canon in the future. I have spent a fair amount of time developing these characters, but some stuff is still unclear in my own mind, so I will try to answer the questions as best I can.

Also, the project I’ll be using for today’s post is still unfinished/super secret, so some details about the characters and plot will have to remain secret for now…


The Book

Shell, the first book in a YA sci-fi duology.

Current status: First draft is complete, and the beginning was completely overhauled and a few major plot changes were made since I last talked about this project. Currently I am focusing on writing the first draft of the sequel before I continue editing Shell.


The Questions

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’ve had the idea for the majority of this year, which is about how long I’ve been working on the book.

Shell was originally inspired by this video about hackers, which was created by one of my favorite YouTube channels, the Game Theorists. It’s a super cool (if slightly unnerving) look at the vulnerabilities in technology and how hackers can exploit them, and it really got my creative juices flowing!

2. Describe what your novel is about!

Without giving away too much, Shell and it’s sequel are about a black-hat (criminal) hacker who is recruited by the British government to fight for the good guys. Along the way, she gets betrayed and makes new friends and all that good stuff. 😛

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

I went ahead and made a photo aesthetic for Shell (which I’ve been wanting to do for a while now). None of the photos are mine. They’re all from either Unsplash or Pinterest.

Shell Aethstetic 1

Also, I probably haven’t talked about this before, but I love creating playlists for stories! I’ve narrowed it down to just three songs that I’ll share with you today, but I feel that these songs express the some of the themes and atmosphere of Shell very well.

Shell Aesthetic Playlist:

How We Do It by Lights

Car Radio by twenty one pilots

Real Life by Aaron Sprinkle

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

Here are three of the major characters in the book, with a quick profile for each.


The Main Character: Mae Ki-Nari

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Fabulous photo by 胡 卓亨 on Unsplash

Quick profile: Sarcastic, smart, disconnected from the real world around her. She has difficulty relating to people in real life. She spends most of her time online. She loves music; it’s her safe space.

(I did an entire Beautiful People post about her, which you can find here.)


Dr. John (last name as yet undecided)

Dr. John

Photo found on here Pinterest.

Quick profile: Distant, detached, treats everything (even emotions) in a purely scientific manner, but he is still a very kind and considerate man. He’s a scientist for the British government and lives for his work.


Marta Mayberry

Marta

Photo found here on Pinterest.

Quick profile: Strong willed, intelligent and commanding. Secretary for the director of the Secret Service (or is she?) She has a motherly, ‘tough love’ attitude with Mae that Mae strongly dislikes.

 

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Yeah, no, definitely by howling. 😂 I don’t really know? I guess I am not very prepared??? Why am I surprised by this fact??? I don’t really do anything to prepare, I just open a Word document and stare at it and die???

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

All. The. Things.

Okay, true, but more specifically I am looking forward to exploring all of the themes and issues dealt with in the book (see the answer to question 10), and also writing a character with anxiety. Mae deals with social/general anxiety throughout both books, so writing her is challenging, but I am quite enjoying the challenge.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting

The beginning of the book is set in Ontario, Canada, my favorite place on Earth. The rest is set in London, England.

A fair amount of Shell currently takes place inside a single building. (I say currently because of course this could change at some point, but I’m not sure)

Shell takes place in the near future (mid 2030s), so I have a fair amount of liberty with the details of the settings, but I’ve still spent an extensive amount of time on Google Maps (especially Street View) researching the placement of certain London landmarks.

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

I don’t want to give too much away, but Mae definitely isn’t happy with her new job working for the British government, and she is actively trying to leave. Obviously, however, a lot stands in her way (I won’t say exactly what, because spoilers).

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Again, I’m afraid it would be way too big of a spoiler to tell you exactly how she changes… but I guess you could say that she starts to come out of her shell a bit. 😛

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I hope to deal with a lot of themes and issues in the duology, including something I am very interested in, which is the idea that by communicating so much over the internet, people use empathy and find it easier to dismiss, attack, or hurt people online than they would if they were speaking in person. Some other themes include our perceived personas online vs. who we really are IRL, as well as a discussion of internet surveillance and other fun stuff like that. There are actually a fair amount of heavy topics that come up in the story (meaning that these books will probably need several rounds of very intense editing to make sure I address everything properly… 😓)

How do I want readers to feel? I’m not exactly sure. I’d like to deliver thrills and excitement, as well as a thoughtful commentary on serious internet stuff (and also hopefully show the reader how anxiety feels, and how it affects everyday life). So, yeah, some pretty hefty goals, but I figure aiming high never hurt anyone. 😅


Thanks so much for reading my Beautiful Books post! I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to check out Cait’s original post, where you’ll find links to other writers who have done this meme, as well as the list of questions and a place to link up your own Beautiful Books post.

As always, this fabulous meme is hosted by Cait and Sky.

 

Win a Copy of The Tangle!

Hey, everyone! As I recently announced, my paranormal suspense novel The Tangle is coming out November 4th. If you’re at all interested in the book, you can check it out on Goodreads, and also enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a signed copy!

Check out The Tangle‘s Goodreads page

Enter the giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Tangle by Aria E. Maher

The Tangle

by Aria E. Maher

Giveaway ends October 27, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 


Thanks so much for reading! See you again soon.

🙂

Announcing: The Tangle!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I’ve been posting a novel called The Tangle on Channillo.com as a chapter-by-chapter serial. I’ve put a lot of work into this story, and I really want everyone to be able to read it. Unfortunately, nobody has been reading it on Channillo, and while I’m glad I chose to write a serial for them (if I hadn’t, I never would have written this book!), I think it’s time to move on. The Tangle will be coming down off Channillo permanently.

Don’t worry, though! Today I am officially announcing the release date of my next book, which, as you may have guessed, will be The Tangle! Here are all the details you need to know about my upcoming novel:

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Audience: Young Adult

Release Date: November 4th, 2017


It was supposed to be River’s eleventh birthday. It turns out to be nothing but a nightmare.

When River finds herself imprisoned in a strange house, belonging to a mysterious man called Uncle, she only knows one thing: She must escape. But every power in the house, it seems, is bent on keeping her within its twisted walls. The creatures that patrol the halls may be deadly, and River may have nothing but her wit and her will, but, with the help of several unlikely allies, she just might be able to make her way out of the house before she becomes nothing more than a mindless prisoner.


I’ve also updated the cover design! Mostly, I just fixed up all the text so that it’s a lot easier to read. You can see the new cover below:

Cover (Front) For eBook and Promotional Material


I am super excited about this book, you guys! The ebook will be available for preorder within the next few days, and you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for more news. I’ll be using #TheTangleBook to share updates and info. Hopefully, there will also be an opportunity to win some cool Tangle swag, and I’m going to talk to some of my blogger friends about a blog tour!

Wednesday with Words: Are Women Human?

While I was away on vacation, I had the opportunity to read Are Women Human? by Dorothy L. Sayers, a small collection of essays on feminism and women’s place in society. This book is probably the sanest, simplest, most Christian take on feminism you will find, and I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone interested in women’s roles and the issues of gender equality. There are so many great quotes in this book, but today I’ll be sharing this one, which seemed super pertinent to me with the news of a new female Doctor Who fresh in my mind.

Dorothy L Sayers

 


On my reading list from the last few weeks:

This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab: I’ve been meaning to read this duology for a while, and I finally got around to it during vacation. The concept was super original and Victoria Schwab is in no way overrated as a writer. Overall, I really enjoyed these books, and they definitely kept me up late turning pages!


Wednesday with Words is hosed by ladydusk.

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Challenging Ourselves: Why Writing Needs to Be Difficult

Here’s something that should be said more often: Writing is really, really difficult. From the outside, it looks deceivingly simple. You open up a Microsoft Word document, bang out somewhere around 40,000 words, and suddenly you have a novel. What could be easier? Why are those authors over there whining about the pitfalls of editing and the horror that is first drafts? What do they have to complain about? Writing is easy!

I used to think like that. I used to think that if it wasn’t easy for me, than I must be doing something wrong. I must not be a good enough writer. I’m procrastinating too much. My sentences are incoherent. Most the time, I fail to have an actual plot until I’m about half way through the first draft. I must not have had enough practice. I am not worthy to call myself ‘author’ unless I can write a new book every three months and have it be completely fabulous the first time around.

Here’s the thing, though: none of that is true. Writing is not easy. We don’t write because it’s easy. We don’t write so that, someday, it can be easy. We write because we have to, because it challenges us, because we are called to write. We write for the same reason that musicians make music and painters paint.

This might not sound super relevant, but stick with me for a moment: I work at a gym, a jungle gym, where kids come to learn parkour and gymnastics. Before I got a job there, I took classes. My teacher, now my boss, had a few things to say to us students about challenging ourselves. I am greatly paraphrasing, but, “If you’re doing something and it’s easy, then you’re not learning anything,” he told us, “Pick something difficult, something that you can’t do, and do that until it’s easy. Then pick the next difficult thing.”

So when we write, and it seems impossible to get it just right even on the third or fourth of fifth draft, let’s not complain (not too much, anyway). In that moment, you are learning something entirely new. You are learning the ten thousand ways that don’t work in order to find the way that does. You are mastering something difficult. You are improving your writing, even if in the moment it looks like absolute rubbish. Writing is not easy. It’s not supposed to be. If we wanted to do something easy, we would be shuffling papers in an office somewhere. Writing has to be difficult so that we can learn to write better.


Thank you so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post. What do you think? What are some things you find difficult, or some difficult things you’ve mastered or learned from in the past? Let me know in the comments.

🙂


Challenging Ourselves

Wednesday with Words: Mere Connection

In addition to being on summer break, I’ve been rather sick for the last week or so, giving me plenty of time to read a few books. One of them was Reclaiming Conversation by Sherry Turkle, which we had on our shelf downstairs and which I’ve been meaning to read for a while. This book is all about conversation —deep, open-ended talks with other people that do more than just exchange information— versus today’s culture of mere connection, where we’re always on our phones and only half listening to the people around us. I found it to be very humbling and eye opening, and it has inspired me to put down my phone more often and actually do something with my time instead. I found several good quotes in the book, so I thought I’d share one with you today:

Conversation


As always, Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Beautiful People #27 ~ August Edition

Hey, everyone! Guess what? It’s time for another Beautiful People post! This awesome meme is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. These are some of my favorite posts to do on the blog, so I hope you enjoy today’s. 🙂


What is the Beautiful People meme?

From the Beautiful People FAQ on Paper Fury:

Beautiful People is for writers. Every month, we post a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. It’s designed to help you get to know your characters – their quirks, their personality, their flaws, and who they are.


DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that everything here is or will be canon in the future. I have spent a fair amount of time developing these characters, but some stuff is still unclear in my own mind, so I will try to answer the questions as best I can.

Also, the character I’ll be using for today’s post is from a super-secret project that I have yet to officially announce, so some details about the characters and plot will have to remain secret, for now…

Enjoy the post!


The Character

chalis007-189517

Mae Ki-Nari from my super secret sci-fi project. Photo by 胡 卓亨 on Unsplash

The Question

1.What are they addicted to/can’t live without?

Mae loves listening to music. It helps her focus and drown out the crazy world around her. She also likes to have a piece of technology by her side at all times. She’d be lost without her laptop or phone!

2. Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.

Positive: She’s smart, straightforward, and very persistent. She likes to see things through to the end.

Negative: She is very snarky and sarcastic, she doesn’t relate well to people, and she tends to completely overthink everything.

3. Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?

She’s definitely holding on to her resentment (and also her idealism) of her past life and her fear of the future.

4. If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?

I think Mae would probably fall somewhere in the middle, maybe somewhere around 5 or 6. She doesn’t actually try to be super organized, but she owns so little that her living space is rarely ever messy. Most of her life is online, so that’s where she spends the bulk of her time. There’s not a lot in the real world for her to mess up or disorganize.

5. What most frustrates them about the world they live in?

Mae hates surveillance. She’s lived for most of her life in a place where you can never be sure if you’re being watched or not. She wants online information to be free and uncensored, and she wants to be free herself from always looking over her shoulder to make sure no one’s watching.

6. How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?

For a night out, Mae would probably dress up as little as possible. She doesn’t like going out anyway. Maybe she would put on a dress (if she owned one) and brush her hair a bit, but that would probably be all. Unless she was going out with that special somebody, and then she would be looking up makeup tutorials online and she might actually care about if her shoes match her outfit, and get really stressed out about how she looks.

For a night in, it would be just whatever she was wearing; probably old jean shorts and a t-shirt from the secondhand store. She literally does not care about anything most of the time. 😂

7. How many shoes do they own, and what kind?

I would hazard a guess that she owns like one pair of sneakers, and that’s it. Maybe some boots too, but even that is probably stretching it.

8. Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?

Mae has never owned a pet in her life, and she probably never will. If she had to own a pet, though, she’d probably get a cat.

9. Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?

Mae resents a lot of people. It’s hard to really explain why and what happened without spoiling some of the story, but she definitely does resent both her parents. She never really had a good childhood.

10. What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?

Soda, energy drinks, synthetic food that provides all her daily vitamin and protein needs. She’s not a fan of ‘real’ (non-processed) food.


Thanks so much for reading this month’s Beautiful People post! I hope you enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to share more of this story with you as soon as possible. Right now, I’m in the middle of rewriting a bunch of it (I just got an amazing new idea today!) but hopefully I’ll be publishing the first book sometime next year.

Be sure to check out Cait’s original post, where you’ll find links to other writers who have done this meme, as well as the list of questions and a place to link up your own Beautiful People post.

Once again, Beautiful People is hosted by the amazing Cait and Sky.

Beautiful People

Wednesday With Words: A Boiling Imagination

Today, I wanted to share this lovely quote from Francis Shaeffer’s He Is There And He Is Not Silent, a book which tackles the distortion of truth and goodness in our current culture, and shows how Christianity is the only viable option that can explain our world. This particular quote is extremely encouraging to me as an author and creative person, because, sometimes, Christians get caught up in this idea that we shouldn’t be creative, because it must be wrong somehow.

Creativity


On my reading list this week:

The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery: Another lesser-known novel by the author of Green Gables. It was on our shelf, and I am very good at not reading the things I probably should be reading (*cough, cough* The Mysterious Benedict Society *cough, cough*) so I thought I’d try it out. I’m only a chapter in, but it already promises to be very interesting.


As always, Wednesdays With Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Beautiful People #26 ~ Author Writing Process

Hey everyone! Today I’ll be doing another Beautiful People post. This awesome meme is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. I’ve had so much fun doing these posts over the last two months, and this month’s theme is pretty awesome, so I thought I’d continue…


WHAT IS THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE MEME?

From the Beautiful People FAQ on Paper Fury:

Beautiful People is for writers. Every month, we post a list of 10 questions for you to answer about your characters. It’s designed to help you get to know your characters – their quirks, their personality, their flaws, and who they are.

This month, the theme is a little bit different. It’s Camp NaNoWriMo Month, and although I’m not directly participating in the camp, I really wanted to join in this month’s meme. It’s all about an author’s writing process, which I haven’t really talked about much on this blog, so… here we go!


The Questions:

1. How do you decide which project to work on?

Hm… I don’t know. It kind of just happens. For a while, I would have about ten million projects happening at basically the same time, but then I discovered that if I just choose one and stick to it, the likelihood of me actually finishing anything increases by somewhere around 100%. So, I kind of just pick the thing I’d like to finish up first, and then chip away at it.

2.How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

It varies, like, a lot. For example, I wrote the first draft of my first book in less than two months, and then spent an excruciatingly long time editing it (about nine months, or more). I wrote the first draft of my second book in somewhere around three months. My latest project took me six months to complete the first draft, and that was only because I squeezed the last 30,000 words of work into just under one month. There will probably also be tons of editing for that project as well, so, yeah… *stress intensifies*

3.Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

It depends. Some days, I listen to music. Sometimes I just want to write in silence. It really just depends on the day. Sometimes I listen to whole albums straight through while I write, and sometimes it’s just one song on repeat.

4.What time of day do you write best?

At night. Right before I’m supposed to go to bed. No, seriously. This is a legitimate problem that I have. I always get tons of inspiration (and time) to write at around nine in the evening, which is bad because if I don’t turn off all my screens at least a half-hour before I sleep, I don’t sleep very well at all (and I don’t sleep well anyway), and I write on a computer, so yeah.

#authorfail

Also, completely random bursts of inspiration in the middle of the night are really, really annoying. 😅

5.Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

A person (my dad) has actually compared my style to “something like a cross between Terry Pratchett and N. D. Wilson”. I think for some things, I would probably have to agree to this comparison (like description and sometimes dialogue) but for other things… I don’t know.

6.Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started writing because I had stories to tell (mostly Super Mario Bros. fanfiction, at least at first). I keep writing because it’s just what I do. I can’t imagine not writing.

7.What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

hate writing romance. But I like shipping characters, both my own and other peoples’ (The Doctor and River Song! I will go down with this ship!!!!). And my characters apparently like being shipped with each other, so… yeah. It makes it pretty hard for me sometimes. Unrelated, but I also had a very tough time with the climax chapter of Behind Her Mask was Death. I had to totally rewrite it from scratch so that it wasn’t awful.

8.Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

Lots. There are lots of projects like this. One that comes to mind is my Middle Grade urban fantasy trilogy, with a magical house and maybe some time-travel and wizards and stuff. I also have an idea for a stand-alone contemporary graphic novel, a nonfiction book about videogames (what even), and a paranormal novel about a haunted library. And a lot of other things. I will never, ever run out of projects to not work on.

9.What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I’m currently working on a sci-fi duology. I’ve finished the first draft of the first book, and I’m working on the second book now. I want to have the first book ready for publication by mid-2018, and the second book done for 2019. So, very long-term goals. But they’re going okay. I actually finished the first draft! You have no idea how rare that is for me.

10.Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Write, procrastinate, repeat.

Or, to use a GIF:

smash the keyboard

*authorish flailing intensifies*

(Small note: That is the first ever GIF I’ve used on this blog. What??? The internet must be getting to me…)


Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to check out Cait’s original post, where you’ll find links to other writers who have done this meme, as well as the list of questions and a place to link up your own Beautiful People post.

Once again, Beautiful People is hosted by the amazing Cait and Sky.

Beautiful People

Wednesday With Words: Tragedy and Comedy

Hey, everyone! I know it’s been a while since I did a Wednesday with Words post (I really need to be better about doing them more often…), but today I do have a quote for you. This quote is by Horace Walpole, a writer in the 1700s, who was a great friend of poet and abolitionist Hannah More. I’ve been reading a biography about Hannah More, called Fierce Convictionsand these lines by Walpole were quoted in it:

Horace Walpole


On my reading list this week:

She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick: I saw this at the library and thought it looked interesting, so I grabbed it (the story of how I have way too many books on my To-Read list…) It’s a thriller about a blind girl who’s searching for her missing father, and I’m really enjoying it.

Unsanctioned Eyes by Brianna Merritt: Another thriller, by an author friend of mine on Twitter. Lots of assassins, danger, secrets, and action! I’m about a quarter of the way through, and so far it does not disappoint. (Pop by Brianna’s Twitter page here, and her website here.)


As always, Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Thanks for reading. See you again soon!

🙂