Weekend Coffee Share: How’s Quarantine going?

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If we were having coffee this weekend, it would probably be via video chat. I would wave at you from across our respective screens, happy to see your face as always, but wishing we could meet in person. But I also wouldn’t complain about it, because I’ve been so fortunate through this entire pandemic, and I’m grateful.

Right off the bat (since this is how we greet each other these days), I would ask you if you took your temperature lately and make sure you were washing your hands. Then we would move to other topics, and I would ask you what you’ve been up to.

I am always interested in this question, but recently even more so. Social media for me is full of people discussing the scones they baked, or the progress they’ve made in that cute online game with the raccoon, or the piles of new books they’ve read. And if that’s what you’ve been doing, I would be so excited to hear all about it.

Of course, the news isn’t always happy. Perhaps the anxiety of the situation is damaging your inner calm. Or perhaps you’ve been affected in a very personal way, or you are stressed because of your essential job which puts you at risk. Or perhaps you are simply frightened, and who can blame you?

And if that’s the case, I would do my very best to comfort you, and promise you that this wouldn’t last forever. I would raise my tea mug in a toast to you for your bravery in these strange, strange times, and remind you that whatever you’re feeling is valid. Because it is.

You would ask me what I’ve been doing, and I would pick up my phone and give you a quick tour of the chaos that is my house right now. I’m partway through rearranging the living room, but that’s only a small part of it.

A few days ago, I finished the first draft of my latest novel. As always, it’s a triumphant and wonderful feeling, but also a miserable one because I’m so lost and unsettled for days afterwards. I’m just about coming out of my “draft hangover” now, aided by the very strong chai tea I would be drinking for our meeting, but these last few days have been a bit of a haze for me.

However, it’s a glorious haze. I would emphasize that to you, because I wouldn’t want you to think I took the good things in my life for granted. This feeling of disquiet after finishing a book is only attainable after finishing the book, so it’s a feeling I welcome. I’d been working on this new draft for almost exactly 5 months (I started it for Nanowrimo). While I enjoy all stages of book creation (except perhaps line editing…) the first draft has always been the most whimsical of all stages. And I really did enjoy it.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee this weekend?

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The Bard’s Choice: 8 Random Facts

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Hello, friends! I hope everyone’s week is going well. Here are eight random bits of trivia about my fantasy novelette, The Bard’s Choice.

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  1. In the first draft, Onrey’s name was actually Jannir. I came up with the name Onrey for the messenger boy in Chapter 3, and decided immediately that I liked that name way too much to use on a character with only a couple scenes, so I flipped the names.
  2. When I first mentioned the title to my writers group, they were expecting a bodice-ripping romance about Shakespeare.
  3. ‘The Digger’ – mentioned fleetingly by Kaeya – is actually a semi-important character in my new book, Sisters, a Sorceress, Curses, and Songs. The books take place in the same world, several decades apart.
  4. The stone’s color (green) was chosen mostly because it is Hollins University’s main color, which is where I thought of the idea.
  5. Five years past between when I first thought of the idea to when I started writing it.
  6. Authors aren’t supposed to show favoritism, but ‘Andros the Gilder’ is one of my favorite names out of all my characters. (Don’t tell him, though. He’s enough of a narcissist as it is.)
  7. One of my arc readers elected to be credited in the acknowledgements as one of their own original characters: Lilith P. Duke, Pharmacist of Journalism.
  8. Kett did not get his job back at the rock quarry. He eventually found work with a blacksmith, and enjoyed it very much despite never advancing beyond the rank of apprentice.

If you want to know
more about this book,
you can find it here
Also on Audiobook!

 

Burn the Boats

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There’s a fantastic quote that says, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.” It’s most commonly associated with motivational speaker Tony Robbins, but it actually goes back to The Art of War, where it is attributed to Julius Caesar.

This quote has become very important to me in these past few weeks. After six years of employment, I finally quit my full-time job so I could focus more of my energy on writing. Risky? Heck yeah. But I’ve reached a point where I need to be honest with myself about what I really want out of life. And this is it. This has always been it.
So, how will I be using these extra hours? Here’s my plan.

I generally divide writing into two categories: creative and business. My mornings (4am – noon) are for the creative things. These include drafting, editing, outlining, researching, brainstorming… basically anything that gets me from a blank page to a finished manuscript.

12 – 2 is for ‘real life’ things. Cleaning, paying bills, being an adult human (ick.) 2 – 5 is for the business side of things, which means scheduling events, formatting manuscripts, answering emails, and anything else that needs to be done.

And then 5 – 6 is my ‘fill the well’ hour. I’ll be spending more time writing than I’ve ever
had the luxury to do before, and I don’t want to burn out. So, I’m designating an hour every day to do the things that stoke the fire. (Yeah, I know, I’m mixing metaphors.) I’ll be listening to music, crafting, drawing, dancing, or whatever else I feel my soul is hungry for that day.

Also, as I kick things into high gear, I’ll be trying some new things (a lot of new things!) with my social media, so expect to see that. Some ideas on my list are:

  • Weekly Facebook Live events
  • Bookish question of the day
  • Character Takeover weeks
  • A snail-mail newsletter
  • Prompts for other writers

Will they all stick and become regular stuff? I doubt it. But for now I’m just going to keep tossing new and exciting ideas out there and see which ones we all agree are the most fun.

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Oh, and one more thing, as you probably noticed in the picture, I shaved my head. I did it on my first day as a full-time writer. Three reasons: 1.) It’ll be one less distraction. 2.) The #NoHairDontCare look is fierce and I’ve always wanted to try it. 3.) It’s a daily reminder that I have burned the boats.

Time to take the island!

Scenelette: Zabby at School

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Here’s a little scenelette I wrote for Zabby, from A Book Without Dragons. A huge part of her emotional baggage is that she tried going to college and then dropped out because it was too overwhelming. So, this is me peeking into her past to see what a typical late-night looked like for her…


The vending machine ate her dollar again. Zabby stared at the little blinking lights for a few moments longer before finally surrendering and allowing the large box to enjoy her money. Yawning, she trudged back to her dorm, candy-less. If she was the type to believe in omens, she would have called it quits hours before the lack of candy bar. This was not the night to be studying.

But at the same time, she had to study. There was no excuse for not studying. If she studied and failed, she’d be disappointed in herself. If she didn’t study and failed, she’d be furious.

It was her English Lit class, one of the required core classes. She rubbed her eyes as she tried to make The Time Machine stop melding together in a blob of classical arrogance. Yes, she was sure it was brilliant like everyone said, but honestly it was just so boring. She couldn’t get two sentences through it before her mind was distracted by something more interesting. Like cleaning lint from her keyboard.

She looked down at her outline, choking with little doodles in the margins. It wasn’t the factual part of the test she dreaded: it was the essay portion. Essays made her cringe when she had weeks to line up her words. The thought of just spitting one out made her sick.

Just get past this class, she kept telling herself. Once you’re past this one, it’ll be easier. But the words meant less and less the more often she summoned them. So many of these classes were downright impossible. It was more probable than not that she would be struggling for a C average by the end of the semester. It made her wonder why she bothered. Even if she somehow graduated, no one would hire someone with a GPA like hers.

And it wasn’t going to get easier, no matter how adamantly she chose to lie to herself.


As a side note – I actually like The Time Machine, but do not judge Zabby for hating it. Really, I think we need to see an end to the idea that disliking a classic novel makes you a ‘bad reader.’ It’s fine. Read what brings you joy ^_^

 

Weekend Coffee Share – Come Hygge with me

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If we were having coffee this weekend, it would be my favorite part of the week. I would chat with you about the ‘hygge’ lifestyle I’d recently learned about. Truly, comfort and coziness have always been my top priorities, but it’s nice to know there’s a word for my ideal home. I would have extra blankets and fuzzy socks available if you wanted them, and we would curl up on my couch as we talked.

I would take a while to get around to the important stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty going on, but lately I’ve been focusing on savoring the small moments. I would be drinking a special blend of loose-leaf tea (white peach), and would happily share all the tips I’d leaned on brewing. If you seemed interested, I may even take you over to my tea corner and show you all of my infusers and little tins of leaves.

I would tell you my life is in a good place right now, and I’m grateful for that. I have a few projects I’m working on, but none of them with deadlines that require stress or rushing. One such project is the audiobook version of The Bard’s Choice. Read the rest of this entry

Self-Publishing: Hiring Contractors Beyond a Copy Editor

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Self-Publishing: Hiring Contractors Beyond a Copy Editor

Here’s an interview conducted by the BRILLIANT Katie Merkel! If you’re a writer, be sure to check out her blog.

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Hello everyone!

As promised, here is my interview with sci-fi and fantasy author Olivia Berrier.  In the interview, Berrier talks about her experience with the self-publishing process and what types of contractors a self-publishing author can hire.

If you read my last post, you know that I had quite a learning curve with this project.  Below are the top three things I learned about making a YouTube video:

  1. Always shoot your video in horizontal.  Never film in vertical.
  2. Use a microphone or have a sound recording device close to your mouth.
  3. Double or triple the time estimate you allot to the editing process.

Happy writing!

Katie

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Experimental Fiction – Wittgenstein’s Nephew

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There’s really only one thing that makes me put this book into the ‘experimental’ category. The entire book – every last bit – is written in one long paragraph. No chapters. No scenes. Just a never-ending block of justified text.

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I’ll be honest, I was a little worried about this. When reading, if I see a page-long paragraph, it’s not something I greet with enthusiasm. When working on my own writing, I am constantly looking for ways to split up long paragraphs, feeling sure that it’s easy to get lost without those lovely little indents to show the way.

If it hadn’t been for the book’s subject matter, I might not have attempted it at all. A little backstory: one of my favorite classes was a philosophy course in which I was one of two students. We spent the entire semester working our way through Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.

I certainly can’t claim any level of mastery over the topic, but I can tell you that I fell fiercely in love with Wittgenstein and his life’s story. He is (in my opinion) a blockbuster docudrama waiting to happen (starring Benedict Cumberbatch, please and thank you) and yet no one seems to know about him. Read the rest of this entry

Soul Song Analysis – Willow

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Willow’s soul song is “Waiting on the World to Change,” by John Mayer.

In my experience, people tend to have strong opinions about this song. It was hailed for quite some time as an inspirational / hopeful anthem. And then one day, people suddenly paid attention to the lyrics and there was a lot of chatter about how “we shouldn’t wait for the world to change. We should become that change!”

(I do agree with that statement, by the way.)

I’m not really here to defend the song – only to explain why it’s perfect for Willow. To me, the song is about feeling helpless in a scary world, but also feeling hopeful for the future. Read the rest of this entry

Scenelette: Another Orientation

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Hey everyone! Here’s a little scenelette I wrote as I was investigating Chief Snowiks (from A Book Without Dragons) and how he feels about his job. I felt like there was a lot there, and I wanted his struggle to be more than a one-dimensional “I’m burned out” kind of thing. I also decided to write it in first person, since that’s his POV style in the book.

***

I glanced in the mirror and straightened his already perfect uniform. These used to be my favorite days, and they still were, but now they were simultaneously my least favorite as well. I was glad that I don’t need to justify this dichotomy to a therapist.

There were three new recruits this time, all eager and ready to begin their careers. Every time I see recruits they seem younger, but I know this is just because I’m getting older; older and delivering the same speech over and over again.

As much as I hate this landmark of another year having passed, I don’t know how I could continue without his periodic reminder of what genuine excitement looked liked.

He saw it in each of the young men and woman as they joined the force; that true and unhindered belief that they were about to perform a desperately needed service to the world. And maybe they would, how should I know?

When I entered the room, the three recruits were sitting at the table with blank notebooks and fresh pens and uniforms so new I could smell the plastic that had previously hugged them. They weren’t talking when I entered, but that didn’t stop them from being quieter when they saw me.

Their mouths twitched like they wanted to smile, but not nearly as much as they wanted me think of them as serious and worthy. Silly children; I already thought that without them trying.

“Good morning.”

They tripped over each other in voices that would have sounded magnificent if they had been speaking the same thing. I think one of them said, “Yes, sir.” And other said, “Good morning, Chief.” The third also started to say good morning, but stalled because he didn’t seem sure what to call me.

“I’d like to start off by congratulating you on graduating at the top of your class,” I began. I tried some years to move the wording of the speech around, but ended slipping back into this one anyway, every time. “I cannot emphasize enough what a great service you are doing by pursuing a career in upholding the law.

“This role in society is not always an easy one, or a safe one, and you will not always be well loved. But whether they appreciate it or not, these people will come to owe their way of life to men and women like you. You will be challenged daily with making decisions that effect lives – sometimes hundreds of lives, and sometimes only one.”

They watched me, drinking in my words and storing them as camels might. I knew the speech so well that I hardly heard myself giving it anymore. I didn’t notice until their faces turned from attentive to concerned that I had stopped speaking.

“Chief Snowiks?” The boldest one asked. “Is something wrong, sir?”

I smiled for him, and sat down at the table instead of standing at the head. After all, who was I kidding, really? “No. Nothing’s wrong. But I don’t want to start off your career by building it up to be something it’s not.”

They glanced at each other, only the barest flicker of the eyes beneath eyelashes, and then they were watching me again.

“Here’s what being a cop is really like,” I told them. “It’s filling out parking tickets, and writing fines when you catch someone urinating on a public building. It’s paperwork, and reports, and patrolling. It’s not glamorous and it’s very seldom heroic.” I shrugged. “Honestly? Being a cop is a job. And there are going to be things you like about it, and things you don’t.

“There will be times when you are bored out of your wits. You’re going to wake up some mornings wishing you could just stay in bed, and afternoons where you can’t stop counting the minutes until quitting time. Yes: it’ll happen. And it’s okay.

“You probably won’t feel like you saved the world. But it’s a job, and it’s as useful and necessary as any other. No more, and no less. As long as you keep that in mind, you’re going to be fine.”

But, of course, that isn’t want I said to them. That’s only what I wanted to say; what I wished someone had said to me so very long ago. No, these three were too happy, and I wasn’t going to be the one to take that moment from that. Let them at least have this, and maybe they’ll have something more than I did. I wanted that for them.

“Chief Snowiks? Is something wrong?”

I cleared my throat and smiled. “Not at all. As I was saying…”

***

Thanks for reading! I really enjoyed this piece because it let me see a softer side of him, and a glimpse of his well-buried optimism.

As a side note – I just wanted to say that I don’t mean this in any way to be a commentary on police officers in general. This is just one specific character and his personal journey as it relates to the job.

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Happy new year to all!

 

A Book Without Dragons by Olivia Berrier

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Thank you Novellover97 for reviewing my book!

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Book Review

Title: A Book Without Dragons

Author: Olivia Berrier

Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian /Sci-Fi

Rating: 4

Review: The opening to a book without dragons was, we are introduced to Willow Ayers in the year 2054, who is one of the creators of Unitime which basically controls all electronics. However, strange things start happening with clocks being wrong, phone calls dropping and much more which should be impossible due to Unitime’s technology. We begin to see how this begins effecting everyday people and when we are finally introduced to Willow’s perspective we learn that he might not be able to fix the system, he might just have to stabilize it long enough for NASA to launch the old technology back into space, but he isn’t sure he can even do that. Despite his fame, Willow seems to be a bit of a recluse with the only person he trusts Jasper who is his…

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Character Analysis: Jasper

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Jasper

This post features Jasper
from A Book Without Dragons
No Spoilers

Jasper has always been part of the plot, even when A Book Without Dragons was still a short story. While his functionality within the story went through a bunch of rewrites, his personality was pretty solid from the beginning.

From a plot standpoint, having him there allowed a good amount of the exposition to come out in dialog between him and Willow. Also, since the five main characters are all in unsteady places in their lives, Jasper served as a good offset to that. He loves his life, he’s happy with his job, he feels confidant in who he is. That kind of energy helps to bring awareness to what the others seem to be missing.

“I don’t think you’re the kind of guy to do anything rash. Let’s sort this out.”
“What are you, some kind of shrink?”
“I’m a crisis negotiator for the FBI,” Jasper said, and then shrugged. “It seems like you’re having a crisis.”

But from a more internal standpoint, it just made sense to me that Willow would need to be with a friend during the Unitime crisis. Willow’s always been the kind of person who really thrived on close relationships, even though he tends not to have many of them. Willow would probably claim that he prefers solitude so other people wouldn’t be endangered, but beneath all that, I know he’s profoundly grateful to have Jasper there with him.

I did struggle a bit with Jasper’s personal story arc and what sort of agency I wanted him to have within the story. In some of the earlier drafts he served an exclusively emotional purpose, and I knew pretty early on that I wanted more for him than that.

As I was outlining, I first started to feel like Jasper’s arc was working when I introduced the dynamic between him and Snowiks. Yes, he was still functioning in a primarily emotional context, but I just loved how much more dynamic Snowiks’s personal arc became once Jasper was involved.

Jasper dropped into a chair and looked around the room with a fond nostalgia that I almost couldn’t comprehend. If I’d actually gotten out of Chagrin Heights, as was always the plan, I would hate any reminders of where I started.

The way Jasper could come into a scene and guide it in the right direction was always fun for me to watch. It was effortless, really. And maybe that has something to do with how open and connected his is with other people. I always loved that about him.

So, once we’d established this extra connection with Snowiks, it became a lot easier to find other plot-positive things for Jasper to do. I was able to tap more into his skills as an FBI agent, and have him work either with or against Snowiks.

I particularly enjoyed playing with his training as a crisis negotiator. The scenes where we really get to see Jasper in his element were so much fun to write.

 

If you’re curious
about Jasper, you can
find the full book here.

A fantastic review – Thank you, Scintilla!

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Hey friends ^_^ I don’t always do this, but Scintilla’s review of A Book Without Dragons was just so lovely, I had to boost the signal. Thank you SO much, Scintilla!!

I particularly liked this analysis of the open-ended nature of the ending (no spoilers, don’t worry!)

I love the way A Book Without Dragons ends without forcing conclusions or final answers upon the reader. It explores interesting questions: what kind of people are we becoming in our tech-dependent world? Could we survive without all the tech? Would we possibly even be better? Does technology bring us together or drive us apart? Berrier does not really answer those questions for us. She poses one set of possibilities…then takes them away and leaves the reader to answer whether anything was ultimately gained or lost in the transaction. Some of the characters are arguably better off in the end. Others are undeniably worse. And some are just in a different place. Whether society is better or worse, though, is something the reader will have to decide.

You can read the full review here:

Book Review: A Book Without Dragons, Olivia Berrier

 

(Also – if you aren’t already – you should really be following their blog. Their reviews are written in a clear and witty style and are just a delight to read!)

Weekend Coffee Share – A quiet little reunion

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If we were having coffee this weekend, you’d probably be really surprised to see me. I would grin sheepishly over my tea mug and admit that, yes, it’s certainly been a while. I would apologize for all of the coffee dates I’d canceled, always saying that I was busy.

Although, I really have been busy, I would tell you, growing so excited I’d have to put my tea down so I wouldn’t spill it. So busy! Busy doing exciting things that I can’t wait to share with you. Read the rest of this entry

Giveaway!

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Hey, did you hear?! “A Book Without Dragons” was voted Online Book Club’s SciFi book of the year! To celebrate, I’m giving away three paperback copies. Click the link below to enter (Giveaway is open for one week, winners will be notified via e-mail.)

Thank you everyone who voted, and everyone who is following my author journey ^_^ Things are really getting exciting!

Click here to Enter!

FB Giveaway

 

Short Story Review: The World That Forgot How to Dance by Olivia Berrier

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Just stumbled on this lovely review of my novelette ^_^ Made my day!

C.A. Jacobs

I met Olivia Berrier at Confluence in Pittsburgh last year and picked up the printed format of her short story The World That Forgot How to Dance (Fantasy 72 pages).

“Dancing destroyed a village … Ellsie lives in a world where magic is controlled by dancing, and both have been illegal for the past three centuries. No one really knows what happened when the village of Laenin was leveled, but the magic of dancers hasn’t been trusted since. The world is better off, they say. The loss of dancing is a fair price for protection against magic so powerful and unexplainable. Ellsie, however, still dances in secret, and she figures she can’t be the only one.”

I read this as a break from a lot of really intellectually and academically heavy work I’m involved with because of a class right now and it was a welcome break. This book also…

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Denise and her original role in the book

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Since I sent “The World That Forgot How to Dance” into the world, I’ve gotten some good feedback on Denise – one of the secondary characters in the story. People liked her passion. They commented on how a character can be brave in a quiet way. They enjoyed the juxtaposition between her methodical ways and Lester’s rashness.

What most people don’t know is that Denise originally had a much larger role in the story.

If fact, in one of the earliest drafts, Lester didn’t even exist and Denise was the only supporting character to Ellsie. (Hard to imagine now, but that sort of thing happens a lot.) I liked Denise from the start, and going back through my notes, it seems that I considered making her the POV character instead of Ellsie. I even had plans for her to be Officer Grove’s daughter – a fact that wouldn’t come out until the climax, at a moment where Denise’s intervention is what ultimately saves Ellsie. Read the rest of this entry

Christmas Character Meme

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Merry Christmas, everyone! I put together a quick holiday character meme for anyone in need of some winter-themed chuckling. Just pick five characters (could be either your own, or from fandoms you like), write them down, and substitute their names into the following questions. Feel free to share your answers in the comments or post them on your own blog if you want!

Five Characters:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Of the characters on your list, who would most appreciate the following gifts?

– A high-end coffee maker

– A year’s supply of lollipops

– A tree planted in their honor in the rainforest

– A large bottle of whiskey

– A mason jar of fake blood

(5) is given the choice of wearing either antlers and a red nose, or a hideous sweater with blinking lights. Which does he/she pick and is he/she pleased with the situation?

Read the rest of this entry

My characters want to send you a card!

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I got my first Christmas card in the mail! In the midst of being super excited, I had an idea: What if my characters could send out cards to YOU?

So, here’s the deal – all you have to do is fill out the form below and you will receive in the mail a personalized, handwritten holiday card from a character of your choosing. I’m including a ‘special requests’ spot in the form, in case you want to ask your chosen character any questions. (ps – if you don’t have a specific character in mind, leave it blank and I’ll choose for you!)

Okay, let’s do this! I want to send some cards ^_^

 

 

Halloween Party with my Characters!

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Happy Halloween, friends!!

Each Halloween, I like to play dress up with my characters, throw them in a room together, and see what happens. Here’s a snippet of this year:

The box had arrived outside Zabby’s door a week ago, wrapped in bright orange paper with a black satin ribbon. The card instructed her, as always, to wait until Halloween to open it (though Zabby doubted many people actually followed this rule.)

She set it on her dresser and wondered throughout the week which costume the author had chosen for her this year, but none of her guesses were correct. When she opened it, she found a crisp policewoman uniform, and a note from the author’s alter-ego.

 

We’re trying something different this year. Each of you is dressing up in the profession of another character. Have fun!

~ Hannah

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Review by Ashley Simon

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I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Online Book Club (it’s pretty awesome, though. It’s kinda like Goodreads, but with more emphasis on talking to other readers.) I bring it up because I recently had A Book Without Dragons reviewed on their website, and I was just so flattered and delighted with what Ashley Simon had to say about it! 

Read the whole review here!

In particular, I loved her impression of my dear, darling Willow

“And finally, there’s Willow Ayers. Willow likes to think of himself as an ordinary guy who loves fantasy novels. But he’s also the guy who invented Unitime. And when the system breaks down, people everywhere turn their eyes to him. He’s the only one who can fix Unitime and restore order to their world. But Willow’s in hiding, and he doesn’t seem to be making a whole lot of progress. In fact, some people would say he doesn’t really want Unitime to be fixed at all. Or does he?”

  • Ashley Simon, Online Book Club reviewer

With a novel as unusual as ABWD, it just warms my heart when I see a reviewer who really understands what I was attempting, and seems to have taken something positive away from the experience. 

 

Drabble: A Fear of Formality

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This post features Willow and Troy
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon (Click Here if confused)
Timeline: Before the book, when the Unitime project was just getting started 

No Spoilers

Willow picked at his stiff collar and tie, wishing not for the first time that Troy would have agreed to apply for the grant alone. Troy was so much better at this sort of thing.

Troy was charismatic and had a kind of trustworthy voice that made people sure that he was smart enough to accomplish exactly what he said he wanted to do. Willow had the kind of voice that made people wonder how he had managed to graduate at all. If they didn’t get the grant, it would be Willow’s fault. He was sure of it.

Troy emerged from the washroom and joined Willow on the bench. “I have a great feeling about this, Will,” he said, leaning against the wall with both hands tucked behind his head. Willow wondered how he managed to still have such a range of movement available to him when dressed formally. Willow felt like he was in a body cast. Read the rest of this entry

My Characters as Birds

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Hi everyone! I’m in a ‘just for funsies’ mood, so I’ve paired some of my characters up with the birds that best represents their personalities. Enjoy!


Jasper

(From A Book Without Dragons)

Blue Jay

From afar, blue jays are beautiful to look at, but DO NOT mess with them! Seriously, have you ever been dive-bombed by a blue jay? It’s pretty scary. I could have picked a hawk or something for Jasper, but the blue jay fits better, because 90% of the time, Jasper is just a really chill guy. However, in the presence of a real threat, I absolutely wouldn’t want to get in his way. Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: Even my Characters get Writers Block

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This post features Bethany and Ralph
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon
Timeline: After the book
Spoilers

 Ralph stepped into the kitchen and found his wife sitting at the table, eyes pinched shut, hunched over a piece of paper. This wouldn’t have been especially odd, except that it was the middle of the night, and she hadn’t even turned on the lights in the room.

“Bethany? What are you…?”

She groaned and slapped the pen she’d been holding down on the table. “I can’t remember.”

Ralph sat down at the table as well, peering at her in the darkness. “You mean you were sleepwalking?”

“No,” she said. “The story idea. I had a dream, and thought it might be a good story, so I came down here to make notes and then… nothing. Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: The Dorm Room at 4 AM

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This post features Willow and Jasper
from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble Type: Canon (Click Here if confused)
Timeline: Before the book, when Willow and Jasper were college roommates

No Spoilers

“I’ll tell you, dude, you missed an awesome party,” Jasper announced when he finally returned to the room that night. It happened that Willow was still awake, but he got the impression that Jasper would have delivered his statement whether or not anyone was alert enough to hear it.

“Yeah, I’ll cry about it later,” Willow grumbled, blinking rapidly and trying to refocus on the book he was holding.

“Seriously,” Jasper went on. “Crazy good.”

Willow looked up with suspicion-narrowed eyes. He was just noticing how much Jasper was using phrases like ‘awesome’ and ‘crazy good.’ It was an infrequent day that Jasper used words like that, and when he did, he normally reserved them for something a little more worthy than a dance party. “Something wrong?” Willow asked. Read the rest of this entry

Weekend Coffee Share: Pardon my mess!

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If we were having coffee this weekend, you would have a hard time finding a place to set down your cup. My tables, desks, counters, floors… all of them would be covered with papers and notebooks and calendars.

I would give you an embarrassed shrug and explain that I am currently trying to organize my year. You might choose to point out that my ‘organization’ looks very similar to ‘chaos,’ and I would wholeheartedly agree with you.

I’d clear a spot for us on the couch, and explain that I’m working on lining up conventions for 2017. The process tends to be overwhelming since there are so many options out there. I would ask you if you had any recommendations for conventions near your hometown, since I find word of mouth far less intimidating than Internet searches.

But not all of the papers are for conventions. You would also see pages of my latest manuscript, splashed with highlighting and crawling with comments and corrections. Read the rest of this entry

Soul Songs – Harold Snowiks

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This post features Snowiks
from A Book Without Dragons.
No Spoilers

I was taking a walk with my iPod, browsing for soul songs—
[Hannah – You should prooobably explain what you mean by that, Liv.]
[Me – Good point, thanks.]

Music has always been very important…
[Hannah – no, not here. In a separate page with a linky thing. Like you do with my name.]
[Me – Why?]
[Hannah – Because you tend to be really long-winded, and I don’t want you to take up the whole blog post with the explanation.]
[Me – Okay, fine.]

Click Here for more info about Soul Songs.

[Hannah – Lol, why is it capitalized? Feeling self-important today, are we?]
[Me – Get out.] Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: Valentine’s Day with Lester and Ellsie

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This post features characters from
The World That Forgot How to Dance
Drabble type – Canon
Timeline – after the book

Contains Spoilers

I’ve had a few people contact me after reading The World That Forgot How to Dance, to tell me that they were curious about what happened to Ellsie and Lester after the book. So, since it’s February, here is a drabble of the two of them sharing their first Valentine’s Day together. Enjoy!

~*~

As soon as they saw how lovely the party room was, Ellsie gave a short laugh and skipped inside. Lester lingered at the door, smiling. He loved moments like this, where Ellsie got so excited about something that her feet forgot the process of walking and could only remember how to dance.

She spun around twice, and then looked back at Lester and gestured widely to make sure he noticed that the room was, indeed, pretty.

“I see,” he said. “It’s perfect.” Internally, he was directing the compliment at his girlfriend rather than the room they were standing in, but couldn’t find a way to tell her this without feeling really cheesy, so he let it go. Read the rest of this entry

Drabble: My Characters Interacting with Cats

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This post contains characters from A Book Without Dragons
Drabble type – Pseudo canon

Minor Spoilers

Kitteh

Remember Five Tales of a Lost Teddy? This is very similar, except I have my characters all interacting with cats.

Willow

Cats didn’t like Willow nearly as much as he wanted to like them. They were so universally considered mystical and secretive, and anyone loved by cats tended to have something unique about them. Given that, Willow couldn’t be particularly surprised that he didn’t easily attract feline companions. But it made him sad all the same.

This particular one was scraggly and thin, and Willow just happened to have a cheese stick in his pocket, so his odds were much better than the average day as he approached the cat. She paused in her fitful attempts to wash her face and stared at Willow indecisively.

With the minimum amount of crinkling, he stripped the plastic packaging from the cheese and separated a segment. Then he knelt, held it out, and waited. Read the rest of this entry

Weekend Coffee Share: Winter Reflections

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If we were having coffee this weekend, we would be drinking it on a couch next to a crackling fireplace, and yet I would still find a way to be upset about Winter. I would tell you how much I miss being outside and feeling the sun. But I would also tell you that I’m working on my dislike of the cold months. I am trying to see them as a time of rest and reflection.

Therefore, let’s reflect… Read the rest of this entry