Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Words: Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee



Happy Wednesday!

On the 2nd Wednesday of the month, I share with you all what I am reading this month. I finished A Crown of Wishes Saturday, so I'm finally into something new and will hopefully start reading more than one book a month.



Yesterday, I started Kathryn Ormsbee's Tash Hearts Tolstoy. First off, I love this cover. The juxtaposition of Tolstoy with the girly hearts and font is hilarious, but also the white, pink, and yellow on black really pops (and y'all know I love pink).

The premise is below:

After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

I'm also on the romantic asexual spectrum, and one of my goals this year is to read more books featuring asexual characters. I actually hadn't read the blurb until I'd already started reading, so when I opened up to a page that looked like credits, I was intrigued. I already connect with Tash, who hints that her sister is the prettier, smarter one. I usually feel that way myself. I'm excited to see if she gains more self-confidence as the story progresses.

There are 400 pages in this book, and Random.org chose page 262, so here is an excerpt from that page:

After a week of what I call our "social media fast," Jack and I get back online with a new plan: We will weed through notifications in an efficient manner, disregarding the hate as best we can and responding only to fellow web series accounts or very pressing questions. It isn't ideal, but we agree it's the only way to stay sane.
It's also interesting to read such a modern book. I don't usually read contemporary YA novels, so when I see a character mention Youtube or Justin Beiber, I have to remember the setting is here and now.

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Creative Outlets


Happy February!

It is once again the time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Please visit Alex J. Cavanaugh and the IWSG site to join in with the rest of us anxious writers.

Exactly one week ago, I started my Kickstarter campaign to commission a cover artist for my book. One day after I was at 28% of my goal. As I was writing an update for this week, I was at 58% of my goal. By the time I sent the update, I was at 63% of my goal. I still have 37 days left, and I'm reeling. I know a lot of my friends and family have been waiting for me to do this, though, so their support right now is amazing. My biggest anxiety for this month is whether I'll reach the goal (I know, I know), but also as an insecure writer, I just anxious as to whether or not people will like it once its out there. Agents didn't seem to get it, and while I didn't send out nearly as many queries as I wanted, I knew if I kept trying to query, I would lose all will to keep doing this. The support I've gotten so far has refueled me, so I'm going to keep going!

The question for this month took me back to my pre-college days: Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Of course if you've followed me all this way even from the old blog, you know I love to draw on occasion, sometimes even paint (I have a makeshift art studio in our music nook. I haven't really painted a THING yet, but I do have ideas and plans in the works). When I first applied to the University of the Arts, it was to major in Illustration, so I had to create a portfolio. Here are the sketches that got me into the Summer program. One was supposed to be Orlando Bloom, but...whatever. hahaha

This is actually the first sketch of Jonnie I ever did, back in 2004.

This is my foot lol.

Chitose from Chobits

My cat Kayla Gene (may she rest in peace, probably by now. I thought I was allergic to her, so I gave her up) at her bowl.



Good sketch but bad pic of Orlando Bloom hahaha.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Quarterly Goals: Kickstarter Campaign!

My Kickstarter is LIVE!


It's the 5th Wednesday of the month, which I have set aside for goals I want to achieve in the upcoming months.

As you can see above, I've launched a Kickstarter to commission an artist to create the cover art for my YA Fantasy Fractured Princess. Self-publishing was an idea I've had and been encouraged to do for years, but I at least wanted to try to get into the traditional publishing world. Query rejections were as far as I've gotten, so as I've said before, I taking control back into my hands.

There is more information below if you'd like to contribute to the art. The campaign will be live for 45 days, so you have time to consider if you can't contribute right away.

Thank you in advance!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Monthly Review: January 2019

© Creative Commons Zero (CC0)

It took me 30 minutes just to find a photo that suited my needs, and I even edited that!

Anyway, it is the fourth Wednesday of the month, so that means I am looking on back on the month to discuss any writing I have done. I haven't really done too much writing, but I have been writing, and that's always a good thing.

I did some last minute touches on Fractured Princess, which I plan to publish this year through Amazon. The Kickstarter for its cover art goes live next Wednesday, and I am trying not to freak out that I'm actually going through with this. I started writing this story in 2004. After a couple of computer crashes, breaks for college, three or four major rewrites and too many revisions and "no thank yous" from agents to count, it's a big step for me to say this story is ready to see real light. I hope people like it.

I've also done some more writing in The Queen's Daughters (introduced here), which will be the next publication if Divided Princess isn't finished first. TQD is the first non-derivative story I've written in a LONG time. Most people start writing because of a book they read, and as I've said before, my first attempts at books were because of television, a la X-Men: The Animated Series, which I was watching as a kid. Then came my rip-off of The Outsiders, and I was heavy into Backstreet Boys fanfiction in my teen years, The Tribe fanfiction in my college years, and between them Fractured Princess (formerly Save the Queen, formerly The Crystal Bearer), which (who doesn't know by now) is based on Final Fantasy (pant, wheeze). The Queen's Daughters will to be my first original-original novel-length story. The only thing I've pulled from for it is African mythology and folklore, and loosely at that. I'm really excited about it. I know how it ends, so I just have to get there.

Speaking of sequels (huh, what?), the other night on my way home, I realized that I might have an idea for a sequel to the The Queen's Daughters, and I'm here for it. I'll start writing down the ideas, but as I'm not even halfway done the first book, I won't focus on it too hard.

February is going to be an exciting month for me (I hope), so I hope you've had a productive January and a good start to 2019!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Words: A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi


Happy Hump Day!

I forgot my book at home last week, so this week, I am sharing with you what I am reading this month.


A Crown of Wishes is the 2nd installment to Roshani Chokshi's The Star-Touched Queen series. It follows an adopted prince named Vikram on a journey to a fantastical tournament with the reluctant Princess Gauri, who we saw grow up into a fearsome warrior in STQ. Here is the premise:

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom's enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they'll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes - a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there's nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

I'm not as into this story as I was with the first book (it's how I felt about Bitterblue; I didn't really need to see what was going on with her down the road), but the dialogue and banter between Vikram and Gauri is hilarious. I love Vikram's character. Also, once again, we get to delve into Indian fantasy and mythology. I like getting to see the Night Bazaar again (I wonder if anyone has illustrated it...). I'd like to know if we see Maya again.

So let's find out, maybe. Using Random.org, I will select a line from a page to share. There are 367 pages in the book, and Random has chosen page 339. Geez. Ah, wait, the opening line to a chapter, and it's a good one.

Skanda turned to me. "Why aren't you dead?"

I can't wait to see how she gets back home. I accidentally saw a line from the page before it that really intrigues me, too, so now I must speed up my reading!

What are you reading this month?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Oh, Shoot. I'm supposed to post.

Expect a Post Each Wednesday!

Week 2 - Wednesday Words
Week 3 - Writing Update
Week 4 - Monthly Review
Week 5 - Quarterly Goals
 
 All right, I'm failing already. Great start.
 
 
For the past few months I've only posted during IWSG, and that's been a big help. However, I do miss posting, so I'm going to try this new schedule.

Today is technically supposed to be a Wednesday Words day, but I forgot my book, so I thought I could at least take this time to say that I will be posting weekly again:
 
Starting in February, the 2nd Wednesday of the month will be to share with you what book I'm currently reading, but for this month, that will be next week.
 
Consider this week my writing update, which will be the 3rd Wednesday starting in February.

The 4th Wednesday will usually be the last Wednesday of the month, so I will provide what is hopefully a positive review of my progress.

The 5th Wednesdays fall at the beginning of the quarter this year, so I will be establishing some goals for myself for the three months that follow it. January's in particular will be my goal of reaching my Kickstarter goal for my book cover (squee).

Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Happy New Year!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised whenever another year occurs, but I can be thankful that I survived another year. 2018 was a difficult one, and I'm glad I can start 2019 with some high hopes. I hope everyone enjoyed their New Year's celebrations and the holiday season!

It is once again the first Insecure Writer's Support Group of the year! Please visit Alex J. Cavanaugh and the IWSG site to join in with the rest of us anxious writers.

I plan on beginning my self-publishing process this month, and I'm pretty nervous. I hope everything works out and that people actually buy my book. I certainly hope more people like it than don't. I want to look over it one last time, but I know if I do I will end up touching it, and I don't want to over-write it. I've probably done enough of that. There's an artist I want to hire for the cover, so I'm building a Kickstarter for that, and we'll see what happens from there.

Also, my older sister is starting a career coaching company, and she's asked me to be her associate for writing consultation, so this will be a very interesting year! I have to send her pricing and a profile this week, so I'll probably do that at work. hehe

The question for this month is: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?

I wish I had a favorite question.

One of my least favorite questions about my writing is probably, "Do you have anything out there? Why not?" Because who has the time to explain to publishing process? BUT, I can say "Soon" now, so maybe I won't hate it anymore.