Monday, December 31, 2018

Reader's Review: "Finding Pandora, Book One: World" by E. Rachael Hardcastle

Synopsis from Amazon:
Arriette Monroe never expected to be thrust into the heart of supernatural chaos, nor did she deem herself worthy of four incredible gifts. 

But when she hears the legendary Pandora's box has been reopened, putting the human race at risk of extinction, Arriette and her friends begin a quest to find and protect it from Haeylo's most powerful Everlast, Falkon Lou.

Although Arriette thinks she's walking pandemonium, the Recruit think she's their saviour...

And they're willing to prove it.


My Review:

Well! People say history tends to repeat itself... but ancient history? Proof that people don't exactly change, modern-day Pandora finds and opens her fated Box once more, thrusting humanity as we know it into near-extinction while some of them receive special Gifts of supernatural abilities like telekinesis, memory and perception control (called Retainers), Dream-walking, and even Angels with wings for flight. Nearly all of the population are immortal Everlasts. Others aren't born with these special powers but may receive them from others via a blood transfusion. Ariette is one of those, an "average" human with an insatiable curiosity who read all she could about every different Super ability.
That much I got. The rest was a little confusing, when it pulled away from the core group of characters. This adventure, while entertaining enough in its premise and very unique in its plot, just felt far too large for the size of the novel. There were a lot of details in the onset, spanning whole centuries of development that the reader could not experience, and that made it difficult to get going, hard to keep track of everything--but about halfway through, when those pieces came into play, the story flowed a lot smoother and it was easier to understand when I was experiencing and observing those same details, but through the eyes of one character or another.

Those characters, though! I loved how diverse and vivid they all were. From elderly Everlast Casper, to snarky, big-hearted Baby A, soft-spoken Dion... and the villainous Retainer Dean, who never failed to make my skin crawl whenever I saw his name on the page. In that respect, Hardcastle excels, as these characters band together to find Pandora and her Box and get the world put back to rights, before anyone else gets to it first and tries to use all that power for their own purposes.
This was a very unique and eclectic book. More like a web than a neatly-woven ball of yarn, it pulls from many far-flung story aspects, all connecting and combining and converging in the middle for a sweeping debut and the start of a promising new series! I loved the characters, I loved the concept of the Gifts, with all their features and limitations... It might take another read or so to understand the context in which this is placed (Haelyo doesn't strike me as the same dimension as Earth, but then again... a century into the future, it might be...) but I would definitely say it is worth that effort!

FINIDING PANDORA: WORLD certainly qualifies for a modest ****4 STAR**** rating on this solid first installment, and I'm also going to add an Upstream Writer Certified Recommended endorsement for Hardcastle--she's definitely an author worth following!

Further Reading: (Future Dystopia/ Powerful Heroines/Supernatural/Paranormal)

The Untamed Series--Madeline Dyer
The Jill Andersen Series--J. D. Cunegan
       -Blood Ties 
       -Behind the Badge 
The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey 
       -The Way 
       -The Truth 
       -The Lie 
The Red Dog Conspiracy--Patricia Loofbourrow
       -The Alcatraz Coup 
       -Jacq of Spades 
The Firebird Fairy Tales--Amy Kuivalainen
       -The Cry of the Firebird 
       -Ashes of the Firebird
Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
     -Escape From Neverland 
     -Dance Into The Wyrd
The Portal Prophecies--C. A. King
     -A Keeper's Destiny 
     -A Halloween's Curse 
The Books of Winter--R. R. Virdi
       -Dangerous Ways 
The Shaudrey Universe Series--J. E. Mueller
       -Fire's Song 
The Runespells Series--Sarah Buhrman
       -Too Wyrd
Tales of the Fallen--Katika Schneider
The PSS Chronicles--Ripley Patton
       -Ghost Hand 
       -Ghost Hold 
       -Ghost Heart 
       -Ghost Hope 
The LouisiAngel Series--C. L. Coffey
        -Angel in Training 
        -Angel Eclipsed 
Judah Black Series--E. A. Copen
       -Guilty By Association

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Reader's Review: "Amster Damned" by Nils Visser

Synopsis from Amazon:

A seemingly routine missing person case brings Alice Kittyhawk to Amsterdam where she discovers that locating a missing botanist will involve delving into the murky and illicit world of temporal displacement. Working with the mysterious Ministry of Lost & Found, Alice will have to take on some formidable foes and race against the clock in defiance of the odds which seem to be stacked against her.

My Review: 

More than ever l am convinced that a book by Nils Visser will invariably contain characters that win your heart, a suitable amount of action and peril, plenty of heart-warming moments... and a LOT of colorful slang!
He adds to his native Sussex jargon a plethora of Dutch phrases and terms, and one necessarily hears the thick accent anytime the strange terms appear—but that is all part of the immersive experience of Visser’s storytelling. The foreign words sound natural, and it’s easy to discern their meaning, with the context of the dialogue in question.

And what a context it was! A daring agent of time-travel, making her way around Victorian-Era Amsterdam on a quest to find antique books that will eventually lead her to an important figure who may hold the key to unfettered time travel. A figure that the time-travel authorities are also hunting down, in a much more ruthless manner. It’s a zeppelin battle, a race through the Dutch alleyways, it’s alternate identities and fierce combat.

Beyond the strange terms, both multilingual and slang, the feature that took me the longest to get used to was the fact that the entire book is written in limited third person, present tense. It’s a style usually reserved for first-person narrators, but the fact that the present narrator focused on Alice and her experiences is not in fact a participant in the story, gives a strange sort of sense of an external observer recording these events, but transcendent beyond the specific time and space they are observing. That being said, the deeper I got into the mystery and intrigue, the faster I got used to this unorthodox method of phrasing.

I cheered, I gasped, I eagerly flipped page after page till I got to the end. All in all, Amster Damned delivered a rip-roaring adventure with lots of intrigue and heart, and I am definitely interested in pursuing this unique premise further as the series develops!
Amster Damned earns for itself a top-marked *****5 STAR***** rating, and I'll throw in an Upstream Writer Certified TOTALLY Recommended endorsement. If you like steampunk, aeroships, colorful characters, and don't mind some funny new words in your literature--the Time Flight Chronicles is waiting for you!

Further Reading: (Also By/Steampunk/Time Travel/Strong Heroines)
Lord of the Wyrde Woods--Nils Visser
     -Escape From Neverland 
     -Dance Into The Wyrd

-Sky Knight--Sandra Harvey 
The Alexander Legacy--Sophronia Belle Lyon 
       -A Dodge, A Twist, and A Tobacconist 
       -The Pinocchio Factor 
Dawn of Steam Trilogy--Jeffrey Cook
      -First Light
      -Gods of The Sun 
      -Rising Suns 
Punk Anthologies--Jeffrey Cook et al. 
      -Sound & Fury: Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 1 
      -Shakespeare Goes Punk, Vol. 2: Once More Unto The Breach 
      -What We've Unlearned: Classic Literature Goes Punk (*Also contains a story by Visser!)
The Red Dog Conspiracy--Patricia Loofbourrow
       -The Alcatraz Coup 
       -Jacq of Spades 

The Firebird Fairy Tales--Amy Kuivalainen
       -The Cry of the Firebird 
       -Ashes of the Firebird 

The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey 
       -The Way 
       -The Truth 
       -The Lie

Monday, December 3, 2018

Upstream Updates: December Edition!

Ah yes, the annual post where I come off my “writing high” and take stock of where I am at with my various projects, and decide what I will be working on in the coming year!


The Last Inkweaver

I am now closer than ever to the end—and stinking proud of how far I have gotten! By the end of NaNoWriMo, I had made it all the way into the thick of a scene I like to call "Storytime with Tark", where Callista is telling this long and convoluted story as a diversion while her friends work together and escape the clutches of yet another trafficker... This scene is important for two reasons: first, it's actually the first time that Callista has put together a plan herself and delegated roles to other people with the expectation that they'll follow through on what she's asked them to do. Second, it's the first time that Callista has actually made up a story--and stories, at least in this world, don't just "write themselves"; this marks a real turning point in Callista's journey, and according to the Story Circle, I believe we're on the upswing and getting ready to put everything all together and bring it back around "home"!
This is the first time I have ever been successful with a second draft, and so to finish it would be a motivation for all the other projects I have ever abandoned over the years....

I won’t be spending ALL my time writing it, but I will at least shoot for finishing a chapter every other week until it is done. Then it’s off to the beta-readers! 

And speaking of “abandoned projects”...

A Writer’s Tale

Laura is well and truly entered into the society of Phantom Gulch... and right about now is the point at which she's going to run smack into the trouble that plagues the land, and get thrust into the forefront of the problem she will need to help the citizens solve! 
Granted, I didn’t quite manage “half and half” like I thought I would this NaNo... mostly because Inkweaver turned out WAY longer than I could have predicted... But anyway, I will be back to writing this one more regularly, too; probably I could manage a chapter or so a week, because it’s not as involved as Inkweaver. At any rate, I’m likely not going to count this project as “finished” until all 7 books are done, so it’s going to be a while! I should finish Book 3 by January, and by February, I should be halfway through the series, so here’s to more shenanigans there!

Short Story Sectional

So a lot of you might know that although I have not published another book since Princess of Undersea (Two years old, coming up!!) I have gotten a few short stories published in anthologies! 

There was “Arthur and The Egg” in DREAMTIME DRAGONS;
Also “The Starborn Legacy” in DROWNED IN MOONLIGHT;
And finally, “Heartsong” was included in the anthology CRACKS IN THE TAPESTRY.

Well, recently I submitted an old story to another anthology—I will announce which story and what anthology if and when it gets accepted (although if you’ve followed me on social media you might already know which story...)—and I am excited to announce that the same creative force behind DREAMTIME DRAGONS is producing a second anthology, this one with a theme of “Dangerous Damsels”, stories of strong female heroines who wind up facing their own demons and saving themselves.

To that end, I will also be poking away at my submission for that... which I recently devised!

I call it “Red: The Wolf”, and it’s a twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood... except that “Red” is a known lycanthrope who defends her little woodland village from threats by taking on the appearance of a wolf to track down missing objects and people, fight off threats, and chase down runaway miscreants.
All that changes one day when she goes after one such swindler... only to find herself stuck in wolf form. 

It’s going to be wonderful and I am super excited to be working together with this group again!

The Return Of Old Projects

As Inkweaver draws to a close, and I find my enthusiasm for writing renewed with each accepted short story... I am once again drawn to return to old projects, just to see what I might be able to do with them now.

One such project is the adaptation I was writing, of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion", which I dubbed "Merely Meredith." I posted excerpts on this blog long ago, before my “career” really “took off”, back when my writing habit wasn’t any big deal... 
But after revisiting it briefly in the recent “A to Z Challenge” (notably for Letter E and Letter M), I found that I kind of missed it and I really did want to find out how it ended up! So in the coming year, I’ll be adding that to the regular rotation, taking a day or so a week to sit down and have a look over it, and perhaps to get back into the groove and push through to the end of that one.

Then, too, there is the matter of what kind of serial post to do. There was Priscilla Sum that never really got off the ground... I could possibly revisit that one and make it work.

That OR the "Flashes of Inspiration" series... Should I get back to doing those? Did you all like them? There are still plenty of prompts where I got them, people in that group just keep posting more and more. Should I keep writing with new prompts?

Or what about doing another Suggestion Box? Would anyone be interested in something like that? It would require participation and involvement from you, my followers. If you’ve never done it before... I promise it’s really easy, and a lot of fun, and I always credit the contributors, so that is more visibility for you, if you’re an author or a blogger like me!


I have a new project started! Since the works that seemed to be getting more attention (votes as well as adds and the like) were my fanfictions, I decided to start posting another fanfic--and the fun thing is, this particular fic is unfinished, so if it garners enough attention, then I would consider adding that to the "weekly writing rotation" until it's finished!

For those interested, the fanfic is titled THE SOUND OF AN ECHO and it's my contribution to the Percy Jackson fandom. I actually developed the idea for it shortly after being very disappointed with the films and pleasantly enamored with the books! It introduces a few new characters, actually centering a lot around a new enemy who wants to get control of a magical Hourglass that is basically "All of Time" and counts down to a global "Judgment Day" that would allow the deity controlling it to pronounce a sentence over the whole world and basically wipe it out... and meanwhile, Percy has to travel with and frequently defend a girl who is the daughter of Echo--and she's inherited Echo's curse in that she doesn't have a voice of her own, she can only speak with a voice she's heard. (Of course that doesn't go over well with the Aphrodite kids...) I got as far as not-quite-halfway, I think, so I still have a bit of time before I have to have a new part ready, but yeah... It's been fun to revisit that one and recall the ideas I'd dreamed up for it--I still have all my notes, so it still might happen, if enough people are interested!

Meanwhile, I've opted to hold off on updating A WRITER'S TALE until I finish "The Sheriff's Showdown." It doesn't seem like many people are reading past "The Dragon's Quest" anyhow... I'm wondering: Should I make each book its own separate work? I thought it might be more cohesive if I kept everything under the same cover, and treated it like a long, continuous work... but at the same time, that doesn't seem to be going very well. Maybe? Please do take a look at what I have there (particularly if you do have a Wattpad account, and thus can have unfettered access to it!) and let me know what you think I should do!


It’s taken quite a while for me to get back to reading... So many GOOD books out there, so LITTLE time to enjoy them like I want to!! After having to return quite a few checkouts to the library unread (a couple of them in particular, I had been waiting for months, and just when I was about to have time to enjoy them... To send them back in??? Travesty.) I am finally to the point where I can take a break from writing to read a bit. Therefore, I am going to try and get through His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik before it comes due, and I’m about halfway through Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass

In regards to ebooks, I am trying out reading two ebooks at once, since my copy of AmsterDamned by Nils Visser is only on my phone, and I have a Kindle Fire that I'm using for ebooks I get from Amazon, so on that one I've just started reading Finding Pandora by E. Rachael Hardcastle. Both are pretty interesting so far!

So these next few months are going to be pretty busy for both reading and writing. But it's what I love to do, so I don't mind it a bit! Feel free to let me know what you're reading and writing in these next few months! And as always,

Catch You Further Upstream!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

NaNoWriMo Update: WIP Wednesday #3

A Writer's Tale #3: The Sheriff's Showdown

Right away, I noticed a difference in the way people looked at me and treated me. I wasn't an anomaly anymore. I was one of them, blending in with the average person, as I did on the frigate in my plain grey jumpsuit. No one hooted or whistled, and certainly no one stared beyond the normal amount of eye contact in passing. I relaxed into my new role as Laura, simple guest from the bluffs.

"Yoo-hoo!" Called a voice that made me cringe involuntarily. Sure enough, like fluffy pastel-colored clouds trimmed in lace, Tru and Pru sailed toward us, almost blocking our way with stately grace.

"My, my!" Sighed Tru. "Shirley Coldwell, you're a sight for sore eyes! It's been some time since we've seen you up and about, bless your sweet heart!"
"And who is this?" Pru squinted over her shoulder at me. Her eyes flew wide. "No! Not the newcomer we saw walking through town with the sheriff, is it? Why, I hardly recognized you, dear!"
"Land sakes, it is!" Tru responded. "Well, looks like the Coldwells have civilized you right up--and don't you look just stunning in that dress!" She smiled and took my hand. "Larissa, is it?"
I fought to keep my cool under so much social pressure oozing from every pore of these two stuffy ladies. "Laura, actually; just Laura."
The two sisters shared a glance. "Well, Miss Laura," Pru angled her attention back on me, "I think it would be just lovely if you would care to join us at our quilting circle happening the day after tomorrow."
Tru nodded. "Oh, do say you will! What fun we would have!"
At least they couldn't pressure me into something I had no interest in joining. "That's very kind of you ladies," I said, "but I'm afraid I've never quilted before, so I wouldn't be doing much--"
Four eyebrows lifted like a quartet of startled birds.
"Oh! Don't you worry about a thing dear!" said Pru.
"Yes, why--Miranda Constable's little girl is completely unsuited for needlework," Tru agreed, "but her mother finds little things for her to do--sorting fabric swatches and tidying thread, for example."
Pru smiled at me and took my hand again, petting it gently with her fingertips. "Do come; we'll find a place for you yet in Phantom Gulch's society!"
I pulled my hand away, steeling myself against the shudder that raced up and down my spine at their brazen condescension. "I'll think about it," I responded.
Shirley and I sidestepped the two sisters, well aware of the way they stared after us for as long as we remained in their sight. Subtly, Shirley directed me down a side-street lined with crates of fresh produce transported from other cities.

The Last Inkweaver
At this point in the story, Matthias, Callista, Terra, and Rowinna have all escaped the bounty hunter, and they tried going out to the village of one of the fellow prisoners... only to find out that the village had been razed sometime in the past, and so there is nothing left there. They are forced to move on with very little supplies and not a whole lot of direction... when we come to this scene.

Something chirped near us, and my eyes alerted me to a small brown shape darting around my periphery.
"Yikes!" I spun away from my seat with a yelp.
Terra bounded to her feet, too, but for the opposite reason. "Oh! How cute!" She broke a small piece off her apple core, holding it in the palm of her hand as she approached the quivering animal.
"Careful!" I warned her.
"Leave it be, Terra," Matthias grumbled.
"Shush!" she whispered over her shoulder.

The squirrel stood, tense and sniffing, until Terra was only inches away. In a blur of movement, it spun around and launched onto the craggy boulder behind it.
"So close," Terra murmured, and she set about clambering over the rocks as the tiny squirrel with the bushy tail scurried easily up to the top.
"Terra, don't!" I called up to her. "It's not worth it!"
She stood on a small outcropping just higher than Matthias' head. Her deft fingers hunted for holds in the uneven stone.
"I've almost got it," she said, swinging her foot around to find purchase on a higher cleft. By spreading herself flat along the surface of the rock, she could shift her weight gradually enough to haul herself up. At least, that was apparently her theory.
"Hey!" she called down to us as she worked herself up to her hands and knees. "I think I can see the town from he--eeeee!"
A single high-pitched wail, and Terra disappeared down the other side of the rock.
"Terra!" I screamed.
Rowinna and Matthias ran with me to the other side. There were more boulders piled there, and lots more tight spaces. Terra's body lay crumpled in one of them, her arms folded against her face and her feet wedged underneath her. I wanted to grab her arms and help her up, but Matthias held out his hand.
"Wait," he said. "We should check her injuries before we move her and end up making it worse."
With slow, calculated movements, he bent down and felt around back of Terra's head. I heard him hiss as he pulled his hand back. Rowinna and I saw red stains on his fingertips.
"Blood?" I gasped.
Terra groaned and shifted a little.
"Terra!" I picked up her hand. "Are you all right?"
"Oh," she moaned. "My head hurts!"
"Can you move?" asked Matthias.
Slowly, her hands twitched and her arms shifted. "A little," she mumbled. "It... feels like swimming..."
"She doesn't know what she's talking about," I spoke up. "Terra's never been swimming in her life." The coast was too far away, and there wasn't another body of water for miles around Mirrorvale.
"We need to get her laid out on the ground," Matthias said. "Help me support her arms and her head." He took one hand and I took the other, and Rowinna supported Terra's head. We lifted her up, slung between Matthias and I like a large, floppy doll. One foot had stuck pretty deeply between two rocks, and at entirely the wrong angle for a foot. When we were free of the rocks, Terra wearily lolled her head and tried to mutter, "I'm fine, I can wa--" But the moment that second foot touched the ground, she cried out in pain.
"Here." Even in the blistering cold, Rowinna took off her own blanket to spread out for us to lay Terra down. Matthias ran back to our little camp on the other side to grab her blanket to cushion her bleeding head.
"So... tired..." Terra slurred.
"Don't fall asleep!" I begged her, leaning close and clasping both her hands. "It's too cold--you're hurt! You need to stay awake! Stay awake, Terra!" I shook my head. "Oh, if only we had some medicine!"
The satchel slid off my shoulder, and I heard it give a small clank inside. Quickly digging in there, I pulled out a small cooking pot and a pestle. The minute I saw them, the staff with the Wordspinner emblem flashed across my vision. The Story-Healer! "... a Story-Healer’s Tale could grow an herb for any ailment..." Naten's strong, deep voice rang in my ears. I picked up the pot and the pestle.
Matthias wrinkled his brow at me like I was crazy. "Where did you get those?"
"They were in the satchel," I said. "I need to go find some healing plants."
"In this weather? In Greyfrost?"
I shook off his derision. "Just wait here. I'll be right back."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Reader's Review: "Salt" and "Submerged" by Pauline Creeden


Synopsis from Amazon:

Mermaid life has never been easy for Verona. Her scars give evidence of her abuse. When her day of reckoning arrives, she is determined to endure exile. According to her father’s experience, exile is better than becoming a land-walker and risking her life among the humans. 

However, when she saves the life of a drowning human boy, she inadvertently sets off a chain of events which force her to choose a path: stay with the humans she has become attached to or return home to a life of scorn. A savage hunter draws closer, threatening even the humans. Her only hope is to keep everyone safe until the next full moon, but those around her devise their own plans.

If you love mermaid tales or paranormal romance, buy this coming-of-age story of shifters, first love, and learning what it means to be human, now!

My Review:

Very cute and sweet rendition of the typical mermaid story! Creeden jumps right in with lore that makes sense, harkens back to the traditions and legends from history--and she even incorporates her love of horses into it! I was fascinated all the way through. Verona is an outcast among her clan, preparing for a life of exile, when a young man literally drops into her life, sinking into the water right in front of her. She rescues him, shedding her tail and becoming human--and that's only the beginning.
Part of the common trope of a "Little Mermaid" story is her naïveté when it comes to anything from the human world. ("What's a fire?" "Ooh, watch me, I'm gonna use this fork as a comb...") When this happens, a lot of the transition from sea to land is spent indulging in the childlike wonder of these new and confusing things, goofy mishaps, and the writer often falls for the allure of explaining the most mundane things, and the whole tone of the story drags to a near-halt in the wake of it.
Creeden neatly sidesteps this by creating a plausible scenario where Verona, as an outcast, is not bound and restricted in her movements in regards to the humans, so she has visited the surface often and learned of human culture via television shows. Thus, a great many details that would otherwise have outed her as a non-human, Verona is able to adapt to blend in.
Two aspects in particular I found particularly unique and intriguing. The first is the connection between witches and werewolves as the principal threat to a Mer on land. It didn't show up as a conflict until later in the story, but it made a lot of sense the way it happened, and I liked the way she expressed it and doled out details, the encounters--and drawing a correlation to things like running water and the innate "danger sense" of ponies as a safeguard against them was brilliant, indeed.
The second thing I really loved was the way Creeden bothered to develop the lives of both the humans and the Mer. Logan has as much depth and development as Verona does--and the connections with the side characters and the way they interact with the main characters makes them relatable, dynamic, and inspires sympathy and a vested interest in both sides of the relationship.

Speaking of secondary characters....


Synopsis from Amazon:

Mermaids can be cruel creatures.

I couldn’t stop them from hurting her, but I couldn’t let them destroy her, no matter what they did to me. The moment I heard the bottom feeder had been chosen for the reckoning, my heart sank. Had I been discovered for what I truly was? Years of pretending I was just like everyone else could all have been for naught. But then I heard it was Verona, and my blood ran cold.

Why was I surprised?

I shouldn’t have been. I’d stood by and watched her ridiculed since we were younglings. I was never as brave or as unselfish as she was. But today, I would be.

My Review:

I decided to review both of these tales because firstly, they were both short novellas, and second, they joined together. SUBMERGED tells the story surrounding Verona's banishment and gives a glimpse into her life below the water, through the eyes of Bailey, a character who only shows up briefly in SALT and almost presents as a gruff, cold, one-note character--a great foil to contrast with Verona, but not much more at first glance... Once again, Creeden defies the conventional and delves deep into the psyche of this "minor" character, and once again succeeds in inspiring a great amount of sympathy. The choice is much the same: does Bailey continue living under the rules and practices of his upbringing, does he believe what others are telling him about "the way things are", or does he choose to think for himself, and act upon those choices to do what he feels must be right, even if everyone around him declares that it is wrong? It's exciting, enthralling, entertaining, and highly imaginative!


All things considered, it likely comes as no surprise that I would unreservedly give both these novellas a raving *****5 STAR***** rating, and given the clean, wholesome, quality content, SALT and SUBMERGED both earn an Upstream Writer Certified WHOLEHEARTEDLY RECOMMENDED endorsement. If you're into mermaid tales and you're looking for something fresh and new that will captivate and hold your interest, your search ends here!

Further Reading: (Fantasy/Mermaid/Wholesome Literature/Mythology/Great Lore)
The Alexander Legacy--Sophronia Belle Lyon 
       -A Dodge, A Twist, and A Tobacconist 
       -The Pinocchio Factor
Dawn of Steam Trilogy--Jeffrey Cook
      -First Light
      -Gods of The Sun 
      -Rising Suns 
The Fair Folk Chronicles--Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins
        -Foul is Fair 
        -Street Fair 
        -A Fair Fight 
        -All's Fair 
The Therian Way--Kimberly Rogers
       -Leopard's Heart 
       -Wolf's Path 
       -Tiger's Shadow 
The Cadeau Series--Connie Olvera
       -Who Can You Trust? 
The Painter Place Saga--Pamela Poole
       -Painter Place
The Goode-Grace Mysteries--Cyn Mackley
-American Goth

Saturday, November 24, 2018

NaNoWriMo Story Update No. 2: The Story Dwindleth... and Floweth Again!

*Sigh* Guess who got behind on her word count again this week?

Good grief, all I'm trying to do is participate in life while I also write as much as I can, when I don't have any other obligations... And what happens? I end up not having time to write until later in the evening (like usual) and I really haven't gone out and participated in any write-ins this year (which I started doing the last couple years and it worked really well... too bad!) which I think made a huge difference (and a negative one) in my ability to win...

Also? These stories are being difficult!

The Last Inkweaver
Current Word Count: 108,175

By "stories" of course, I mean this one. Hey! I made it to 100K, just like I hoped I would! The only thing is, I'm just barely past the part with Ronni and the whole coup and whatnot, and while Callista and the others are having good conversations and plenty of character development happening in a gradual manner, not at all rushed or contrived... It's also taking forever, and I feel like I have to keep deferring on getting to the end as chapter after chapter goes by and these segues don't happen like I want them to!

I think, though, that I don't really need to take back what I've written, exactly. Like I said, it's good character development; Matthias needs to learn that Callista is actually more capable than he gives her credit for, and Callista needs to learn to self-advocate and stand up for herself. The whole reason I justified leaving this little segment in there was to prove to Callista that if she just lets go and accepts the Wordspinner-related things happening to her, she will be stronger for it and it will prepare her to progress through the next phase in her journey. In the case of Matthias, I am about done with his continued obstinacy, and the fact that he thinks he can just go through life picking and choosing what he wants to believe and demanding proof before he accepts something as "real"... and the moment he starts believing that, and trusting Callista when she starts trying to take charge and move forward based on the direction she's getting, the more they can start working together as a cohesive unit.

Here's the struggle with that: I know why the things are there, and I know what it's leading to... but it's the "segue" part I'm bad at. And it's that part that is getting me bogged down right now. I just need to get through it to the other side--without glossing over important parts, because if I give in and start glossing over, it will be obvious that I'm rushing things and readers will know! So I have to knuckle down and just keep on going.

Wish me luck as I move from Ronni to Tark! Luckily, there isn't much subtlety that has to go on with his part... and Callista is about ready to come into her own, so once the pieces are set up, it shouldn't need much of a push to knock 'em all down!

A Writer's Tale #3: The Sheriff's Showdown
Current Word Count: 7,291

In the interest of finishing The Last Inkweaver, I've kind of shied away from actually writing this one of late. It's going pretty alright, with Laura settling in to life in Phantom Gulch, and both Jerry and Shirley willing to come to her defense when the snooty townspeople want to remind her of her status as an outsider. It's another "setup" transition that I'm getting to in this book, as well, though... and so the interest in writing peters off. I do have plenty to look forward to, though: I've expanded and thickened the plot with the bandits, I have a new method to connect Laura with their plans and everything, I am going to have lots of fun with the new characters... but still, all that can't happen until I FINISH The Last Inkweaver!!!

I suppose my biggest disappointment and the thing that keeps nagging at me is the same old feeling of "Not Being Able To Finish Something." I managed to finish The Amazon Triangle in just over 100K, so the fact that I've written that much on The Last Inkweaver and I'm still not done is... frustrating, to say the least. I can keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it in the end... but dear me! If a book is a "writer's baby" then that book going to be one "fat baby"! More than 100K words and I'm still within 4 or 5 chapters of the end of it... Slowly but surely, it's all coming together!

The end is near, December is coming... and this weekend is my last-ditch effort to get caught up, and from there to get ahead, because if I can pull that off, then I have a chance at winning, in spite of everything that has happened so far... wish me luck!

Catch You Further Upstream!