Wednesday with Words: Baby Steps

Yes, Wednesday with Words is (finally) back! I really wanted to do it last week, but I had to help with VBS at my church was was super tired, so it didn’t really work out. Anyway, today’s quote is from the amazing middle grade novel Some Kind of Happiness, which I just finished reading. My author/blogger friend Jeneca recommended this book on Goodreads, and I’m so glad I picked it up, because it is wonderful! You can read my review here.

Some Kind of Happiness


On my reading list this week:

Zero Day by Jan Gangsei: I recently finished my local library’s summer reading challenge (yes I know, it’s not even summer yet, but I read way too much, okay? :P) This book was available as one of the completion prizes, and I thought it looked interesting, so I picked it up. I’ve only just started, so I’m not sure what to think about it yet, but hopefully it’ll be good!

And… that’s pretty much it, except for school reading. I got out a bunch of books last week, but I’m already finished all of them. #bookwormproblems

Thanks for reading. See you again soon! 🙂


Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Beautiful People #25 ~ June Edition

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 had so much fun doing one of these posts last month, so I thought I’d give it another go. Enjoy!


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.

Last month, the meme was themed around parents, because it was Mother’s Day in May, but there’s no real theme this month. (If you want to check out my May Beautiful People post, you can find it here.)


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. Enjoy the post.


The Character

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Princess Esmeralda from Behind Her Mask was Death. Gorgeous artwork by S. Meghan Fedor.

The Questions

1.What’s their favorite place they’ve ever visited?

Esmeralda has never been outside of her country of Plutch, and has hardly ever left the capital city, but when she was younger she traveled to the coastal city of Foundry in order to meet the royal family of Skring, who were arriving by ship there. She loved this city, as she’d never seen the sea before, but she didn’t get to explore nearly as much as she wanted, as there were formalities to attend to.

2. What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?

Esmeralda often shuts people out, thinking or pretending to herself that she doesn’t need anybody. She keeps on making this mistake over and over again, and it is a vicious cycle, but she always comes to the realization that she really does need friendships with other people in order to be at all happy with her life.

3.What was their favorite subject in school? Or favorite thing to learn about?

Esmeralda despised school. She was taught at home by a governess or tutor, and learned mostly about etiquette and manners and diplomacy and how to embroider and sketch (she sketches very badly) and play piano (she doesn’t play very well either). What she does like to do is to study other people; how they speak and act and think. She is a very good judge of character.

4.What’s their favorite flower/growing thing?

Esmeralda doesn’t make it a point to notice flowers and things like that very much, but I think she would like lavender, because it would make her think of Devon.

5.Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?

Esmeralda has never really made anyone cry. She has had a lot of good cries over other people, but always alone in her room or one of her secret corners in the city, where nobody can see or hear her.

6.Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

Esmeralda is fairly reliable, although she might be prone to twisting the facts a little to justify some of her more impulsive actions.

7.What do they dream about at night?

Esmeralda doesn’t always get a lot of sleep, and when she does she’s often so tired that her sleep is deep and dreamless. But if she does dream, it would most likely be bad dreams about things she fears, or old memories brought up from the very back of her mind; things she’s tried to forget but that will never really go away.

8.They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?

Probably cake or sweets of some kind. If Esmeralda was going somewhere by herself for a ‘special meal’, she would almost certainly get something as tasty and sugary as possible.

9.What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?

Go sailing or swimming in the ocean. Visit the great city-state of New Calvin. Go anywhere in the world that wasn’t her homeland. Esmeralda loves to explore and go adventuring. She could never run out of things to do and places to go.

10.Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?

Does getting in trouble count??? 😉 Besides her penchant for judging others’ characters and personalities, her greatest talent is doing the exact opposite of what she’s told to do; bending or breaking the rules, making crazy decisions or doing crazy things on a whim.


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

7 Reader Facts About Me (For All the Bookworms)

Hey, everyone! Big surprise, but I’ve stolen another tag from Cait over at Paper Fury for today’s blog post. (Well, I didn’t actually steal the last one. It was for authors to use on their blogs, but anyway…)

This tag is called 7 Reader Facts, and it is actually a #bookstagram tag that Cait borrowed for her lovely blog post today, and which I am borrowing as well. You can find the original tag here. Feel free to use this tag for your blog as well! Just link back to the original bookstagram tag with the link above. 🙂


The Questions

1. What books are you too lazy to read?

Cyndere's Midnight CoverAnd the prize goes to… Cyndere’s Midnightand the rest of the Auralia Thread. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and I own them all and they have absolutely beautiful covers (if I was not currently on vacation about 500 miles from my house, I would go take a few photos like right now), and I don’t really have a good reason except that there are so many other books to read and I haven’t read them yet and my TBR is killing me cause now that I’m following so many other amazing book bloggers and bookstagrammers and stuff I just keep finding things to add to my poor to-read list. So, yeah. And I’m lazy. That is also true. I am also writing and working and doing school, so there’s that.

2. What book made you swoon?

Heartless

I usually really hate romance in books, but it is hard to hate Marissa Meyer’s adorable fairy-tale couples in both The Lunar Chronicles and HeartlessI know Heartless does NOT have a happy ending, but I just loved Cath and Jest so much and they were the best and that ending was brutal, so, yeah. You’re making me cry, book. Stop it.

3. What book gave you a hangover?

Still Life

Ooh, this is difficult. I’ll have to think back a little bit… There are many books that have left me feeling lost or wanting more. Still Life by Jaqueline West, the last book in her amazing Books of Elsewhere series, left me with that sort of bittersweet book-hangover-y feeling.

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The End

The End of the Series of Unfortunate Events did as well, although that was more a hangover of disappointment because up until then the series had been so good, and then absolutely zero of our questions were answered and it was all ambiguous and blah and I was very upset, so yeah. That happened.

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Chestnut King

Basically all the final books of all the N. D. Wilson series’ have made me sad inside, especially the end of The Chestnut King and Empire of Bones, although Empire of Bones is apparently not the end and we have been lied to, which of course I am very glad about. Obviously. Also The Song of Glory and Ghost, although that isn’t the end either (I am very releived). So, yeah. All N. D. Wilson books ever.

Oh. And Anne of Ingleside. And A Girl of the Limberlost. And Heartless. And about eight million other ones I’m not thinking of. Basically, I am very prone to book hangovers, and I haven’t actually realized that till just now, so…

4. What book will you always recommend?

Evenmere 1I will never not recommend The Evenmere Chronicles by James Stoddard, which are in know way as well known and loved as they should be. A magical Victorian house with mysterious denizens and evil anarchists and battles and trickery and a sort of steampunk/fairy-tale/Narnia-style aesthetic? Count me in for sure!

I also found myself heartily recommending The Ashtown Burials by N. D. Wilson to a Twitter friend the other day, and I would definetly recommend all N. D. Wilson books to everyone ever in a heartbeat. They are amazing! (I’m still waiting on Ashtown book 4, though…)

5. What book will you always reread?

God's Smuggler

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew is my absolutely favorite book ever. I’ve reread it many times, and I hope to reread it again when I get the chance. It’s just such a powerful true story, and another book I would heartily recommend to everyone.

The School Story by Andrew Clements is also another book I try to reread every so often. It’s one of the books that really made me want to be an author when I was younger.

6. What are your favorite male authors?

Do I even need to say? You can probably guess the first two at this point. 😛 The rest are in no particular order of favoritism.

  1. N. D. Wilson, obviously
  2. James Stoddard
  3. Anthony Esolen (although I really didn’t enjoy his latest book very much)
  4. Terry Pratchett
  5. Andrew Peterson
  6. C. S. Lewis (throwing him in because I love That Hideous Strength like a lot)
  7. Charles Dickens

7. What are your favorite female authors?

This is actually slightly easier, cause to be honest there are a way less authors in this list, but, here goes:

  1. Marissa Meyer
  2. Jeanne DuPrau (The City of Ember ❤ ❤ ❤)
  3. L. M. Montgomery

And… that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want to check out another post like this (with many more beautiful colorful original pictures that I really just want to eat), go check out Cait’s post! And her whole blog! I cannot say this enough times, but in the short time I’ve been reading it, Cait’s blog Paper Fury has become my absolute favorite blog ever. Just go read it. It’s lovely. 🙂


7 Reader Facts

Chapter 8 of The Tangle is Live!

the-tangle

Hey everyone! Just a super quick post to let you guys know that ‘Black and Blue, Chapter 8 of The Tangle is live on Channillo.com today! You can check it out here.


Is anyone here following me on Twitter? I’m participating in #WIPTruthOrDare this month, so every day I answer a new question about my current WIP or take a dare to add something to the story! You can check out my tweets here.

Wednesday with Words: Stories of Imagination

Hey, everyone! Just a quick Wednesday with Words post today (to let you know that I’m still alive 😛). Today, I have a quote from Terry Pratchett, who is one of my favorite authors.

Terry Pratchett


On my reading list this week:

Wingfeather TalesEdited by Andrew Peterson: I got this book from the Cincinnati Great Homeschool Convention, where Mr. Peterson himself gave a talk and also a special concert. I got him to sign my copy! I’ve only just started reading the first story, but it is already promising to be good. Also, one of the tales was written by N. D. Wilson, my all time favorite author, and I’m very excited about reading that one. 😉

 And… to be honest, that’s about it, except for school reading. Yes, I am having a bit of a reading slump. But I am making up for it by writing! I promise!


Wednesdays with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Beautiful People #24 ~ Parental Edition

Hello, everyone! Today I’m doing something a little bit different and joining the Beautiful People meme hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. I only just discovered Cait’s blog yesterday, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s a wonderfully quirky and just aesthetically gorgeous blog about books, writing, and more books! 😛 So go check Paper Fury out, like, right now.


Okay, what is this ‘Beautiful People Meme’ you speak of?

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.

I’ve seen a couple of other bloggers I follow do some Beautiful People posts, but I never really thought about jumping in until now. This month’s theme is Parents, because Mother’s day is coming up, so I thought it might be fun to apply these questions to the parents of Behind Her Mask was Death‘s main character, Devon Lavender.

The reason I haven’t really done any posts like this about characters or stuff I’m working on is because I’m always super nervous that I’ll never actually finish my WIPs, and if I tell people about some of the stuff in them they might be disappointed if I never finish the books. However, lately I’ve been growing more confident in this area, and getting better at actually finishing things, so I thought I might try this meme out at least once, just for fun.  Devon’s parents, Vanessa and Augustus Lavender do not actually appear in Behind Her Mask was Death, although they are referenced. A prequel featuring them is (tentatively!) in the works, but for now let’s jump into the questions!


DISCLAIMER: I cannot guarantee that everything here is or will be canon in the future. As I said, I’m working on that prequel, and 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. Enjoy!

Also, there may be a few minor spoilers ahead for BHMwD, so be forewarned!


The Character

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Devon Lavender in Behind Her Mask was Death. Gorgeous artwork by S. Meghan Fedor.

The Questions

1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

It really depends on what point in time you’re talking about. When he was younger, Devon and his mother, Vanessa, were basically inseparable. He adored her. His relationship with his father Count Augustus Lavender, then and now, is more formal and distant. After Vanessa’s death when he was just twelve, Devon has withdrawn even further away from his father, and even though he still lives in his father’s house in BHMwD, they tend to keep away from each other in daily life.

2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

Devon grew up with both his parents, but, as I said, his mother Vanessa died when he was young. This has effected both his relationship with his father and his own personal life very deeply. Devon’s friends have helped him cope with the loss, but he has still become quite lonely and withdrawn from the world in the years following her death.

3. How did their parents meet?

Vanessa and Augustus grew up in almost opposite situations. Vanessa is the daughter of a fisherman and trader in the island nation of Archipelago, and Augustus is the son of the wealthy, influential Lord Lavender. The Lavender family are members of high society in the city of Kips Capper, but Augustus despised his moody, sometimes cruel father and frivolous friends and left the city to travel. One of the places he went was Archipelago, where he met Vanessa.

4.How would they feel if they were told “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?

It would really depend on which parent you said he was “turning out like”. Augustus Lavender is a rather emotionally distant, cynical man, and it would be a real blow to Devon’s own security and self esteem for people to think that he was turning out to be like him. He wishes and aspires, however, to be kind and caring and joyful like his mother, and to take a real, genuine interest in people the way she did.

5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?

(Devon is twenty-two in BHMwD, so I’ll use his age in the WIP prequel for a more interesting answer.)

At age twelve, Vanessa would have been helping her mother cook and look after the other children, as well as swimming in the clear, blue-green sea on sunny days and sometimes taking long, silent walks with her grandfather down the beaches. Augustus would have been in school, or perhaps his father would be forcing him accompany him and his sister Annaliese to some high-society function or an evening at the theater.

6. Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

(I am taking this to mean something that the two parents disagree about, although it could conceivably mean something that the character and his parents disagree about, but, you know…)

 Augustus is a cautious, rather cynical man, disinclined to trust people until they give him a good reason to. Vanessa is an open, caring person who feels best when she can be helping others. Being a Countess in a rich, important family meant that she had the means to help others in ways she couldn’t before. While Augustus did reluctantly let her travel into the poorer, rougher parts of the city to give aid and food to families there, he refused to let her bring Devon with her, or to even tell him where Vanessa went.

7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

Devon is usually quite reserved and gentle. If he does get angry, however, he can sometimes find himself saying or doing things he would never, ever do normally. He also has a tendency to conceal his feelings, so that he doesn’t ‘bother’ anybody with them, sometimes making it quite difficult to tell when he’s been hurt or upset.

8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

Devon will always remember his mother’s voice as she spoke and read and sang to him when he was young. His most vivid memory…? I’d love to write it here, but then it would spoil the prequel, and I haven’t even written out the scene yet, so… Sorry. You will have to wait and see…

9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

I think Devon would have been a fairly shy, quiet child. He probably learned to speak before he could walk, and clung close to his mother in times of trouble.

10. Why and how did the parents choose your character’s name?

Devon’s full name is Devon Augustus Lavender. He is named in part for his father, of course, but also for his mother’s wise, beloved grandfather, Devin Oshar. His name reminds Vanessa of her home and the people she loves and misses.

(Literally just made that up. But I like it! That’s definitely canon as of now…)


Thanks for reading! I had so much fun doing this meme, and who knows, maybe I’ll try it again next month… 🙂

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

Beautiful People

Wednesday with Words: Common Sense

Today’s Wednesday with Words quote is from Common Sense by Thomas Paine. Paine wrote this pamphlet back in the days of the American Revolution, as something of an argument against monarchy and the hereditary inheritance of government or social positions, but much of what he says (So far, anyway. I’ve only read the first section!) seems to be very relevant to politics and society today. There are so many good quotes in the first section alone, but I’ve chosen this one to share with you today:

Common Sense


On my reading list this week: 

The Song of Ghost and Glory by N. D. Wilson: As some of you may know, N. D. Wilson is by far my favorite author, and so I’m super thrilled that he has a new book out this month! I just got my pre-order copy of this second installment in the Outlaws of Time series last week, and I’m flying through it. It’s just so good!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin: Just started this one for school, and I’m enjoying it so far. My mom loves this book a lot, and I’m hoping I will too.

Ember Falls by S. D. Smith: I’ve only just started this, but I have high hopes. I did enjoy the original Green Ember book, but I felt it had some issues with the pacing of the plot. My dad has read Ember Falls already, and says that the pacing is very much improved, so I am excited to jump in to this new story of Rabbits with Swords!


Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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Help! What Do I Say??? (3 Podcast Tips for the Nervous Author)

So, you’ve landed that big podcast interview you’ve always wanted. Hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people are going to hear your voice on that show. They’re going to listen to what you have to say. Maybe, they’re going to go and buy your book(s) afterwards.

And now you’re nervous, and stressed out, and you have no idea what you are going to do.

Maybe you’re a natural introvert. Maybe you’re shy, or you don’t like talking in front of people. You’re nervous that all your words are going to be recorded. Perhaps you have that little bit of knowledge in the back of your mind that other people are going to be listening to your conversation later on, so you’d better say all the right things now and not make a fool of yourself.

I’ve been there. And I’ve come out the other side. So today I thought I’d give you a couple of helpful tips that I’ve learned along the way. Not all of these tips will work for everyone, but hopefully some of them will be useful to you.

Here we go:


1. Don’t try to wing it.

I honestly don’t remember who told me, but one of the first pieces of advice I received when I told people I was going to be on a podcast was, “You’d better not write anything down. Just wing it. It has to sound natural.”

No disrespect to whoever gave me that advice (seriously, I do not remember at all), but it really messed me up. It sounds really smart, right? You certainly don’t want to sound like you’re reading from prompt cards. But by not writing anything down at all, and trying to just wing it, I ended up in a complete emotional breakdown while I was in the recording session with the interviewer. I felt physically incapable of responding to the questions at all. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Not pleasant. Not at all. Thankfully, she was gracious enough to let me try again at a later date, but I still felt like a fool.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are certainly people out there who can wing just about anything and come away with a brilliant interview. There are people who are stifled or hampered by outlines or written out answers. This is definitely not a hard-and-fast rule of any kind. If you are comfortable with winging your interview, go ahead. But at least study the questions ahead of time, and maybe mentally work out the basics of what you are going to say. My interviewer, Pam Barnhill, sent me a list of questions way before the recording date so that I could study them and figure out just what I was going to say. As I said, the first time around I forgot everything I had so carefully worked out in my head and was unable to do the interview at all. So I went back and took my time and wrote down an answer to every question, even if it was just a few lines. We didn’t end up using all of the questions in the podcast, but at least I felt secure knowing that I had a response if one was needed. I even went ‘off script’ a couple of times.

Even if you don’t write out your full answer to every question, it’s probably best to jot down a couple of bullet points of what you’d like to touch on. A sparse outline is better than no outline at all. A quick glance at your notes should remind you of what you wanted to say if you forget in the middle of the interview.

2. Do ask for do-overs.

The nice thing about podcasts is that they are recorded and edited before anyone else gets to hear them. It isn’t like being on live radio or TV, where if you mess up you don’t get a second chance. If you get off track or flub your words, you have every right to ask the interviewer for a do-over. You can say the line again (hopefully correctly this time) and the interviewer or whoever does their editing can easily go back and edit out the mistake. You aren’t live. Everybody messes up sometimes. Even the interviewer may have to do over their lines at some point. Don’t hesitate to ask for a quick second try if you need one.

3. Do stay on topic.

Podcasts are great for getting your name and maybe your work in front of others, but they shouldn’t act as a platform for you to talk endlessly about your book or make some kind of big sales pitch. If the interviewer wants to talk about your book(s), go ahead and talk about them. But if the topic of the podcast is, I don’t know… dogs or something (stupid example, but bear with me), then trying to make a big sales pitch in the middle of your interview isn’t really going to work. If people listen to this hypothetical podcast to hear about other people’s opinions on dogs, then they aren’t going to want to hear your big speech about how amazing your book is instead.

Now, hopefully the topic of your podcast relates a bit more to your writing or your area of expertise than dogs probably does (unless you do happen to write about/be an expert on dogs), but that doesn’t mean that you can still go ahead and make a big sales pitch the focus of your interview. As I said a few minutes ago, people don’t listen to podcasts to hear authors brag about/try to sell their books. You are a guest chosen to speak about topic X, so you’d better talk about topic X, and if the interviewer also wants to talk about your book(s), that’s great. But selling something should not be your main focus. Your main focus should be to say something interesting about the topic, and to entertain people.


I hope you enjoyed this little article! I’m glad I have some advice to share in this area, and I hope you find them helpful. SHAMELESS ADVERTISEMENT: If you’re interested in my podcast interview with Pam Barnhill, you can find that right here.

Thank you so much for reading. I’ll see you again soon!


Podcast Tips

Chapter 6 of The Tangle is Live!

the-tangleHey, everyone! Just a super quick update to let you know that ‘Fugitive’, Chapter 6 of The Tangle, is now live on Channillo! Click here to check it out.


Sorry I haven’t been posting in a while… Last week was my break week from school, and I may have been a bit lazy and watched a lot of Sherlock instead of actually doing anything, so… And this past week I had been trying to cram about a week’s worth of school into three days so that I could go to the Great Homeschool Convention on Thursday, so there’s another excuse… 😛 I’ll try to get back on track next week!

That’s all for now. See you soon. 🙂

Wednesday with Words: Rejoice Ever More

Hey, everyone! I know I didn’t post a Wednesday with Words last week (I had a really, really bad flu with a high fever, and was feeling way too loopy to try to write anything at all coherent), but I’m back this week, so… yay? (I was able to post the tutorial last week, as it was pre-written. I’m not a Wednesday with Words slacker, I promise!) 😛 Anyway, once again, I have another John Adams quote. I’m nearly done this term of school, and consequently I’m finishing up a bunch of books, including John Adams by David McCullough, this week. John Adams is such an amazing writer, and he has so many good quotes, so I thought I should share one more with you before I finish the book.

John Adams 2

On a more author-ish note, I’m doing my best to get back to work! I’ve had a huge writing slump over the past couple of weeks, but I have so many projects I need to work on, so, get back to work, Aria! 🙂 ‘Tiles’, Chapter 5 of The Tangle, will be up on Saturday, so I’ll see you then! Bye for now.


Wednesday with Words is hosted by ladydusk.

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