So That was Christmas

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fall was a bad writing time for me. A million things came at me at once and I put writing on the backburner. I passed all my finals and made it through my first semester without too much headaches (ha). December has been the hardest and craziest month of 2015. I had something going on nearly every day, I had finals, and there were some scary new experiences that I had to deal with. Somehow I got through them and now I'm stronger than I was before. So I guess you could say that December was a good month for me, even if I didn't know it at first. I even sang a solo at two different places, which was a major deal for me since I'm terrified of singing in front of people.

Christmas was a blast. I spent some time with both sides of my families and ended Christmas with my cousins, laughing till my sides hurt. I got a ukulele (!!!) and already taught myself two songs. One of my other favorite gifts was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. There will definitely be a review coming for that one, since it's now my favorite movie.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is over. I already miss the music and excited feeling at the mall. The bittersweet feeling that comes before the start of the new year has settled in, but I'm so excited to see what this new year has in store.

How was your Christmas?


November Playlist

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hello, lovelies! If you know me at all, then you know that music is a major part of my life. I pretty much listen to music 24/7. Discovering new music is super exciting, so I always love it when bloggers share monthly playlists. It hit me the other day that other people might enjoy it, too--so why wasn't I creating a monthly playlist?  

These song have been on repeat--I can't get enough of them. You might notice that I actually have two versions of The Parting Glass on my Spotify playlist. The version from The Walking Dead is more haunting (and I love haunting tunes) and the other has more of an Irish feel, which always makes my little leprechaun heart happy. So of course, I had to include both. I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do!

Have you heard most of these songs or are they new to you? I also plan on doing a playlist for all you brave NaNo writers, so stay tuned and good luck!


Behind the Scenes Tag

Friday, October 30, 2015

Jamie at Through Two Blue Eyes tagged me in The Behind the Scenes tag, and I had a ton of fun doing it! Talking about writing is one of my favorite things to do (sometimes I talk about writing more than I actually write...). Here goes!

More than two weeks ago, I finished up a one-act play--I did the final edit, hit the deadline, then heartily congratulated myself. In the days leading up to the deadline, I was writing 3+ hours eac...:

Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?
York peppermint patties are my go-to writing snack. I usually try to avoid snacking too much, but if I know that I'm going to be writing (like for NaNoWriMo), I like to keep them on hand for motivation. Drinks are my big must-have. Tea or coffee is always by my side while I write.

When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?
I'm a night writer. My mind is more alive at night. It isn't strange for me to stay up writing past midnight (I think I stayed up till 1:30 a few weeks ago). There's just too much going on during the rest of the day.

Where do you write?
Well.... I have a special writing space in the basement surrounded by books and a candle and writing quotes. But I rarely write there. Ha. When I write, it's always in a big blue chair in the corner of our living room. It's right by the window, so I get to look outside and daydream when I need to get a good mental picture of what I'm writing.

How often to you write a new novel?
It depends. On average, it seems to take me about 6 months to finish a first draft. After I my first draft, I like to take a small break and then start the second draft--which takes another 6 months. So I'd say that I write a new novel once a year (maybe). 

Yes! This makes perfect sense. The outlined type works works well with the line art imagery. Text and image have a beautiful quirkiness to them.:

Do you listen to music while you write?
Goodness, yes. I can't write without music. Not only does it help block out distracting noises, it helps me feel what my characters are feeling. Music brings out emotions in a way that other things can't.

What do you write on? Laptop or paper?
I used to write on paper. To be quite honest, I would still love to. There's something beautiful about a blank sheet of paper and a brand new pen (!!!). But alas, I have terrible handwriting (it's getting better, though), and sometimes I couldn't read what I had written. So, the switch was made to a laptop. And I love it. I use Scrivener, which is a LIFESAVER. I can't imagine writing without it. If you're an organizing freak like me, Scrivener is perfect for you. Plus, I don't get hand cramps from typing (I'll just get carpal tunnel instead).

Is there a special ritual your have before or after you write?
I wouldn't say it's special, but I like to glance over my storyboard on Pinterest to get a feel for my story world. The danger with that is sometimes, I get completely sidetracked--because let's face it, if a video of a penguin falling over and yelling pops onto my home feed, I'm going to watch it. It's all downhill from there. Other than that, I also listen to my "theme" song for the novel I'm writing and read over the last scene I've written. I know that some people say to never read what you've previously written, BUT I HAVE TO. Otherwise the next scene is all over the place.

It. Never. Ends.  It's so true, it hurts.:

What do you do to get into the mood to write?
Like I said in the last question, I look through my Pinterest board or other boards and listen to my novel's playlist. If it's been a week without an inspiration, I might read a book or watch a movie that is similar to my story--for instance, I would watch The Hunger Games or The Walking Dead if I needed inspiration for my dystopian.

What is always near the place you write?
My writing notebook, a drink, a fuzzy blanket (because my house is freezing), my phone and a computer screen cleaner (because I'm a neat freak and little specks of dust drive me insane).

Do you have a reward system for your word count?
York peppermint patties, if I have them on hand. Unfortunately, I don't usually have them around. So I don't really have a reward system, other than knowing that I met my word count. The happy feeling I get is a reward in itself (although it still doesn't equal the pure joy of peppermint patties).

Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?
I don't think so. When I was younger, I used to have a special hat that I always wore when I wrote. But now, I just sit down and write. Something people may or may not know is that after I finish my first draft, I read over it, make notes, and then completely rewrite the second draft. Once I finish my second draft, I give it to my cousin to read and he edits it for me.

Alright, so now I am going to tag Victoria and Aimee. Have fun!

Do you do anything different/similar to what I do? Who's ready for NaNoWriMo?! If you are doing NaNo, make sure to add me as a writing buddy! 


Beautiful Books #1

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

At 12:00 a.m. on October 25, 2015, I finished the second draft of my novel, Beginning of the End. The end came together just like I imagined it would. It's still a little hard to believe. There were moments that I seriously wondered if I would ever finish the second draft (I'm not be melodramatic--I honestly doubted it). Now that it's over, I'm beyond exited. And a little sad. You know the feeling you get when you're a chapter away from the end of the good book and you're tempted to stop reading so the story keeps going? I was definitely feeling that while writing. One good thing about finishing the second draft though, is that I get to start the sequel! I'm not sure if I'll do NaNoWriMo or not, but I thought that doing the Beautiful Books link-up would be a great chance to learn some more about my novel.

{hosted by Cait and Sky}

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
Oh goodness. How long have I had this idea? Years and years. This novel is the second book in the trilogy I've been working on for an eternity. You can read more about it here. Originally, I wasn't going to have a sequel. But then the ideas just kept coming and coming and I realized that I couldn't fit my character's story into one meager book. So here I am.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
I just am! The plot in this novel is probably the best plot I've ever come up with. There are surprising twists and serious character development. If everything goes as planned, I'll have my readers in tears. Mwahaha.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
I can't give the full synopsis, because it has major spoilers for book 1.... But I will say that after Brynn finds out who has been betraying the rebellion (and some major bad things happen), she and the Kearney have to learn to trust each other again. Life still isn't the same, knowing that any moment the traitor could--and probably will--tell the rest of their secrets to the Government. Since waiting isn't in Brynn's DNA, she prepares to take out the spy once and for all--until the he contacts her first.

The title is Out of the Ashes. I may or may not keep the title. For right now though, I'm quite pleased with it (we'll see how long that lasts).

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

Maverick: candid
disvalued:  profounds:  sussed:   Arrow Season 2 Promo  _       _    Reblogged by @man_crush:

Jay: impulsive
Caspar Scott - Annalis researcher *wizard* FAMILY: Son of: Mia Rozier, Fabian Scott, Brother of: Maggie Rozier, Theo Scott, Gideon Scott, Eric Scott:

Brynn: lost

Riley: resilient
Hayden Christensen.:

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favorite to write? Tell us about them!
Maverick, Jay and Brynn. Brynn didn't have a conventional family; she had two older cousins who were absent most of her life. When she meets Jay, he initially gets on Brynn's nerves, but something about him intrigues her and eventually Jay becomes an adopted little brother. Their relationship is going to be super fun to write.

As I've said in countless other posts, the Brynn-Maverick story line was never supposed to happen. But it did. And I'm ever so glad. The interactions between these two are never dull. They both come from the same place and are so similar, yet their reactions to their experiences are completely different. Honestly, Brynn and Maverick are the two biggest reasons why I'm excited to write this book.

6. What is your protagonist's goal, and what stands in the way?
She just wants to keep what she loves safe. It's a futile goal, but Brynn dreams about it anyway. Everything she's ever had gets destroyed in one way or another and she's tired of it. Brynn finally does get the chance to protect what she loves, but ironically, what she loves ends up stopping her.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
The headquarters of the revolution is based in the rolling Appalachian mountains. While the main rebel camp is set in the country, the characters are constantly fighting battles that take them to cities, abandoned factories, and small towns.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
Riley and Brynn's relationship is Brynn's top priority. She cares about her other relationships, but admits that Riley is the one person who has to live; he is at the heart of each decision that Brynn makes.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Brynn has to make some major decisions in the last chapter that will estrange at least one person she cares about and endanger herself. In order to do that, she has to pick up the pieces of her life that fell apart in the first chapter (and the previous book). She definitely has to find her strength and rebuild everything that she lost.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
I want them to be in tears (just kidding). But seriously. Redemption is the biggest theme in Out of the Ashes. Choices were made in the first back that can't be undone. The person who made those choices wants to make it up and Brynn has to decide if she should kill the traitor or forgive him. Hopefully my readers will agree with the choice Brynn makes and be able to relate to my characters.

NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

#1.) It's okay to be strange. This might not sound like writing advice, but it is. Trust me. Do you ever make facial expressions that match your character's expressions while you're writing? If you're like me, you do. And you get concerned looks from your family. Maybe you cry when you write emotional scenes or *gasp* kill off one of your favorite characters. Don't be afraid to be a strange writer--stay up past midnight and act out your scenes if you must.

therefore, I am not sane:

#2.) Create a soundtrack for your novel. Maybe you aren't the type of writer who likes to listen to music while you write. If you aren't, then don't worry about it. But I do recommend trying to create a soundtrack, even if you don't write to it. Find some songs that set the mood of your novel or sound like a theme song for your main character. It's a nice thing to have. If you do like to write to music, Soundfuel is an amazing site--the author created tons of playlists for all sorts of writing categories like Battle Scenes, Historical, Villains... You name it!

#3.) Love what you write. If you feel "blah" about your novel--stop. Take a break and rethink your story. One thing I've learned is that if you aren't in love with your characters--if you aren't constantly thinking about your story--then your writing is going to fall a little flat. The best writing comes from deep feelings. So love your story and it will be a great read.

Is anyone else doing the link-up? How about NaNoWriMo? 


Why I Watch the Walking Dead (And You Should Too)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

I was always skeptical of the zombie craze. Whenever people would talk about zombie movies, shows or anything like that, I'd just roll my eyes. What was the big deal? The idea of an apocalypse is definitely fascinating, I'll give you that. But zombies? Um. No.

Then one of my good friends mentioned to me that she watched The Walking Dead (TWD). She said that she thought it would be stupid until she sat down and watched it with her husband one night. Annnd she became addicted. "It's totally a man's soap opera! It's. So. Good. Watch it, Emily."

So one night when my mom and I were home alone, I started flipping through Netflix. All my favorite shows were in their off season, so I needed something new to watch. TWD popped onto the screen. I figured that I might as well give it a try. My mom was seriously freaked out by the zombies, but we were both hooked by the story. As soon as the end credits were over, we turned to each other. "Start the next one." That became a well-heard line as my mom and I got caught up on all 5 seasons. It was a sad day indeed when I realized that I had to wait a WHOLE WEEK for the season 6 to start (tomorrow is the day!!!)

The Walking Dead Season 1, Episode 3: Tell It To The Frogs

Rick - Season 2/9 - "Triggerfinger"

So what makes this show amazing? Why did I leave my original belief that zombie shows--specifically TWD--are messed up?

Like I said before, the idea of an apocalyptic world is intriguing no matter how you look at it. You know it's true. No government, no police, no schools.... No civilization. Total anarchy. Technically, that is possible. So getting to see what that would be like is pretty neat. The zombies just add some terror to it.

One of the best things about this show are the moral questions that come up. Sure, there is no law--anything goes. So is it okay to steal another group's last can of beans if it means your family survives? What about killing? That's a main thread in the story. Sometimes the line between self-defense and murder is hard to find. The characters are constantly faced with situations where they have to decide to keep their humanity. And is living the same thing as simply surviving? TWD will get you thinking on a deeper level.

Dale Horvath The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead recap: 3 things you might have missed in "Us":

The characters are the main reason I watch the show. They are each so complex and their struggles are real. Seeing Rick Grimes (the main character) grow over the course of the show has been super interesting. He--and the rest of the characters, for that matter--have seen and been through a lot of horrific things. It's no surprise that they are all going to suffer from PTSD or all least from severe depression and anxiety. The cast does an excellent job portraying that. Seriously. All the actors are amazing at what they do.

I can't write a post about TWD without gushing over some of my favorite characters. Rick is wonderful, obviously-- 1) he cares deeply about his family and others. 2) he is extremely good looking (even with the beard. but especially without the beard).

no beard. much better, right?

Carol is another favorite. I want to be Carol when I grow up (err, I guess I'm grown up already. humor me). She has some great lines and is just so tough. She still feels deeply, but she does what needs to be done. 

One of my top favorites is Beth. She doesn't get a whole lot of screen time, but what time she does have is great. Beth is the character I can relate to. She's small and viewed as weak. In one scene, she complains that when someone looks at her, all they see is a weak, dead girl (my brother laughs that i would be the first to go in a zombie apocalypse. i resent that wholeheartedly. that's why i totally know how Beth feels ). She's the light in the group. Her optimism is shown when she sings (all.the.time.). After a while, Beth's experiences make her stronger. She might not have a lot of survival knowledge or even be strong in the physical sense--but she has a strong heart and a good head on her shoulders. Honestly, I think that is almost--if not as--important as physical strength.

Still Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) in "The Walking Dead" episode, "Still.":

My number one guy isn't hard to guess. Daryl Dixon. This was another thing I never got. So many girls would fangirl over Daryl Dixon. I never understood till I started watched the show. Let me say: I understand now. It might be hard, but I will try to calmly and objectively explain his character. Ha. Simply put, Daryl is perfect. Well, he isn't perfect, and that's what makes him perfect (the fact that he's a redneck helps, too). When he was first introduced, I wasn't sure about him at all. But then he started showing his softer side. I remember watching the episode Cherokee Rose and thinking, "He isn't just a grumpy redneck, he has feeeelings! He's woooonderful!" He gets better and better with each episode. His family life wasn't all that great growing up, so he has a hard time showing emotion. But Daryl learns to let people in and cares about those people. He definitely is a man of character. Plus, he likes babies. 

the walking dead. Daryl holding a baby, it doesn't get any better!:

Exclusive: Revealing New Photos from The Walking Dead Finale Episode on

Seriously. I'll stop watching if he dies.

The Walking Dead Season 5 Feb 8th!!

Now here I am, done with all 5 seasons and patiently impatiently waiting for season 6 to premiere tomorrow night. I'm going to be honest: this show will make you cry. It will make you care and then, to quote Danny from Full House, it will "rip out your heart, throw it on the ground and do the Mexican hat dance on it." There were multiple times while watching that I yelled, "Why did Rachel have to introduce me to this show!? It's all her fault!" (True story) And if you can't handle violence, then.... this isn't the show for you (sometimes my mom has to cover her eyes and watch through slits in her fingers). There is a lot of blood and gore, so this isn't something you should let younger viewers watch.

I could talk about The Walking Dead all day. But I won't. Instead, you should stop taking my word for it and try the show yourself. Just don't watch it alone in the dark. And be aware of your surroundings. Because if you don't realize that your dad is at the back of the house and you walk back the dark hallway after watching an episode, you just might scream at the top of your lungs when you see a sleepy figure stumbling toward you.


Oh, and I took this quiz on which Walking Dead character would be my survival partner (because I was curious). I got Daryl. Just so ya know.

Another Post on Authenticity

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It happens all the time. At least it does to me. I read other blogs and reviews and start to compare myself. Oooh, I want to write as beautifully as that person. I should be more humorous. I should tell inspiring life stories. Suddenly I want to change myself.

But that isn't the point of blogging. The whole reason I started this blog was to put my thoughts down. Sure, I get my thoughts out when I write novels, but it's not the same thing. Blogging is about sharing pieces of myself. Changing myself defeats the whole purpose.

Don't get me wrong; it's good to try and change for the better. Sometimes it's good to imitate other people's good behaviors. I'm talking about something different, though. I'm sure some of my fellow bloggers know what I'm talking about (or maybe it's just me). I think I'm not good enough, or my writing isn't good enough. I look at my reader stats and followers (or lack thereof) and dismally wonder how to become better.

to be fearlessly authentic in every area of my life - love, relationships, romance, style, home, travel, money - to live without fear:

Then I remember writing posts about being authentic. I remember how I promised myself that I wouldn't care what other people think. Apparently that didn't work too well. Yet again, I've fallen into the same struggle of writing to please other people. There's nothing wrong with wanting to make your readers happy; but if that's the only reason you write about certain things, then maybe you should stop and take a look at your blog.

Once more, I'm deciding to be an authentic blogger. If people don't follow me, fine. If other people write better than I do, fine. It doesn't matter if people judge my likes and dislikes, or my writing, or anything. I'd rather get a few followers while I'm being myself than get 1000 followers while I'm trying to be something I'm not.

So what say you? Will you join with me in being an authentic blogger?



Thursday, October 1, 2015

    Maybe I’m too harsh on Erik. I’m not sure that I could do what he does. Take the battle, for instance. He mapped out a strategy by piecing together bits of intel. He’s able to do that because he devoted his life to studying battle strategies. Erik never asked for this--it was thrown at him when my father was killed. I know that Erik would do everything the same if he had to do it over again, because that’s the type of person he is; he stands up when no one else will. But I can’t help wondering if he wishes that he could have a normal life, if there is such a thing anymore. Does he regret not having his own family? Does he miss spending time with me and Vince?
Watching him now, I know he’s happy. He frowns as he throws out the black contents of a frying pan and starts to make sandwiches instead. He is a meticulous sandwich maker, from the way he spreads the mayonnaise to how he cuts the bread diagonally—just the way I like it. Next he pours milk and chocolate syrup into two tall glass, something he hasn't done since I was little.
That’s when it hits me. Erik may be my cousin, but he’s the best father I’ve ever had.


A sour mix of sweaty men and cologne burn my nose when I push open the barracks door. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve smelled it—this is one smell you never get used to. I walk down a long hall lined with doors on either side. Each room has three bunks beds in it; to wash, the men have to share the bathroom at the end of the hall. For once, I’m glad that I can live in my own home—no matter how empty it is. At the end of the hall is a stairway leading to the second floor. My feet don’t make a sound on the cold concrete, but I feel like I’m disturbing the quiet atmosphere.
The second and third floors are laid out exactly like the first floor. Only the second floor is important to me. I pass one, two, three doors then stop at the fourth and knock. Seth’s groggy face appears in the small crack that he opens.
“It’s way too early in the morning for visitors,” he says before shutting the door again.
I fold my arms and count to three. Right on time, I think as Seth opens the door. This time, he looks like he has been awake for hours. He steps aside and motions for me to come in. The room is a mess, with clothes and who knows what else thrown everywhere. It seems too small a space for the Kearney to be living.
“We need a woman to take care of us, don’t we?” Aaron asks.
I raise an eyebrow. “You need something.”
The boys laugh. Seth—who I now notice is the only one wearing a shirt—puts his arm around my shoulder. “You need to come help us,” he says wistfully.
“You guys are old enough to know not to live like this,” I say, glancing around the room. “I’m scared to think what’s living in this place.” Riley catches my eye. He leans against his bunk and shakes his wet hair into a towel. “You can’t tell me you aren’t bothered by this—you’re such a neat freak.”
He finishes drying his hair and smirks. “Sure, but I can’t change that these guys are pigs. I gave up on them long ago.”
Vince pulls on a shirt. “This is the way guys live, Brynn.” He pats my head. “The sooner you get used to it, the better.”
I pull away and shake my head. “I’m sorry, but I refuse to get used to it.”

This week was a rainy week filled with coffee, tea, and writing. It was a good week indeed. How is your week going? And for my fellow writers, how is the writing?

Emily xoxo

Beautiful People :: September Edition

Friday, September 18, 2015

I had no problem picking a character for this month's beautiful people. Maverick Adams is one of my favorite characters from my current novel, Beginning of the End. Maverick wasn't supposed to be a big deal. I originally added his character because I thought it might be nice to have a character who was a total pain to be around (it is nice, in case you're wondering). But you fellow writers know how plans almost always change. Maverick kind of took over the story. He demanded that I give him a bigger part. And after much arguing, I agreed that it would be for the best. We're good buddies now.

{hosted by Cait and Sky}

1. They're in a crisis: who would they really like to see right now?
If you ask Maverick, he would say no one; he doesn't need anybody. But really, he would go to his Aunt Mattie. The tough-guy attitude is just an act. Maybe it's because his aunt was there for him when his parents were killed.

2. Are they easy to get along with?
Ha. Absolutely not. He's about as personable as a threatened skunk.

3. Who was the last person they had a deep conversation with?
It's highly unlikely that he had a deep conversation with anyone. But when he does open up, it's with his Aunt Mattie.

4. They're in the middle of a huge crowd of people: how do they feel?
Perfectly fine. Of course, all eyes must be on him, because of his drop-dead good looks. But Maverick says he's used to it by now.

5. Do they believe in luck or miracles?
He thinks he has insanely good luck, apart from being orphaned. As far as miracles.... Maverick will believe in them when he sees one.

6. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?
Maverick gets along fairly well with his roommates at the barracks. Every now and then he has an argument. It depends on his mood that day. When he gets leave and goes back to his Aunt Mattie's he makes sure to visit his elderly neighbors and help them with anything they can't do themselves.

7. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?
Mt. Everest. Maverick has an obsession with mountains -- more specifically, he is obsessed with climbing as high as he can go. He loves the feeling of standing above the world, far away from war and death.

8. How do they feel about their body?
Colton Haynes in Abercrombie & Fitch's Spring 2014 "Making of a Star" campaign: He loves his body. Maverick regularly works out and has no problem telling everyone. He's healthy and good looking. To quote Maverick, he's "the perfect catch."

9. What is the cruelest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
When Maverick was six, his parents were killed in an explosion. He had nightmares for a few months after, and occasionally he would dream that his dad was still alive. His aunt sat down one night and told him that his nightmares weren't real; his parents were dead and never coming back. Maverick knew that his aunt was trying to help him, but he considers it the cruelest thing that he's ever been told. He sobbed for a whole day after she told him.

10. What's the kindest thing someone has ever said to them? How did they react?
"I can't afford to lose another friend, so stay away!" Maverick remembers it like it was yesterday. It wasn't meant to be kind, in fact it just slipped out. But it doesn't matter. To think that someone cared enough to not want to lose him made Maverick's day. He tried to say something in reply, but no words would come out. Then his team was ambushed, so.... There wasn't much of a chance to discuss.

Who else did Beautiful People? Anndd..... It's nearly THAT time -- NaNoWriMo is almost upon us!


Beautiful People :: Friendship Edition

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Once again, I'm late posting my Beautiful People post. However, I am a firm believe in better late than never (not really). It's for a good reason, I promise! College started up and I am loving it! Two week down already and I'm feeling like a pro (somewhat). My English professor even complimented my writing on my narrative essay. Needless to say, I'm a happy camper.

Ahem. Now to get back to the point of this post.... This month's Beautiful People is a friendship edition. It was a hard choice, but I finally decided on Brynn and Riley from my main novel, Beginning of the End.  So without further adieu.... 

1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
They've known each other since they were babies (so, sixteen years). They know each other inside and out, because Riley's mom helped raise Brynn. Neither of them are open people, but they do confide in each other.

2. What's their earliest memory of being best friends?
Brynn remembers lying on a bottom bunk at Riley's house, tucked in tight under a thick flannel blanket. Riley was on the bunk above her, telling her heroic stories about his dad. Brynn isn't sure, but she guesses that she was 4 or 5 and Riley was 6 or 7.

Riley remembers a night when he was 7 and Brynn was at their house yet again while her cousins were away fighting. She was crying because she missed them, and Riley sat with her on the couch until she calmed down.

3. Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
They fight all the time. Usually it's over something small, like a remark that was a little too sarcastic or beating each other at a game. Other times, when the offense is more serious, the fight lasts longer. Probably the longest time they went without speaking to each other (because of an argument) was a week.
4. Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
That's a tricky question. They are similar in so many ways. Both are quiet, stubborn, and reluctant to show their emotions. But they go through highs and lows at different times. When one is depressed, the other is full of hope. It changes all the time. So in that way they compliment each other.

5. Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
Ha. Brynn thinks she's the leader. Riley thinks he's the leader. (If you're asking me though... my money is on Riley. I think he just lets Brynn get her way because it's easier than starting WW3.)

6. Do they have any secrets from each other?
Yes. Brynn is the secret keeper. Riley would never think of keeping secrets from Brynn, unless he was 100% sure that it was for her own good -- and that rarely happens. Brynn on the other hand... She has no problem with hiding things. And these aren't little things, either.

7. How well do they know each other's quirks and habits?
A little too well. Brynn and Riley can communicate with a simple glance or cough. Riley knows that Brynn is stressed when she rubs her right shoulder blade. Brynn knows that Riley's beyond furious when he suddenly gets quiet. Knowing each other so well isn't always an advantage, though.

8. What kind of things do they like to do together?
Ever since they were little, their favorite pastime was hunting. Now they don't have as much time because of the revolution. But whenever they get free time, Riley and Brynn grab some guns and target practice -- though most of their time is spent arguing over who is the better shot. What they enjoy most, though, is running deep into the woods to a cluster of boulders. Then they just sit. Sometimes they talk, sometimes they don't. Nothing will ever compare to the times spent there.

9. Describe each character's fashion style (use pictures if you'd like!) How are their styles different?
Brynn opts for black leggings and lace-up ankle boots. Depending on the weather, she wears either a tank-top or t-shirt with a dark jacket. On cold days, she usually wears a beanie. Brynn would say that she doesn't have a style; she just goes with what's most practical for training and running through the woods.

Riley almost always wears a t-shirt and cargo pants or jeans. The only thing that changes is the color of the t-shirt, though it's usually white, grey, or green. He is never seen in anything other than his combat boots (unless he's swimming). Like Brynn, Riley believes that clothes should be practical and comfortable.


10. How would their lives be different without each other?
They wouldn't talk to anyone. Seriously. Brynn and Riley only confide in each other. Brynn would have been a lonely orphan, raised by two guy cousins who had no idea what they were doing. Riley would be wallowing in bitterness because of his father's death. Probably the most important part of their friendship is that they each provide a shoulder to cry on.

Anyone else linking up? There's only a day or two more, so don't wait too long!


The Wrath and the Dawn :: Review

Thursday, August 13, 2015


The Wrath and the Dawn, by Renee Ahdieh

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

     Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
  She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all. 

(Prepare for some squealing)

First things first: This book is amazing. I had super high expectations and this book surpassed them all. That's really saying something. There is so much Persian culture (which has always fascinated me), so much intrigue, so much.... Everything. There's even a little bit of magic -- only hints throughout the book, then a bit more at the end. I'm curious to see where the author takes that.

What I Loved: 

The words. Every.Single.Word. was so beautiful. Her descriptions? A masterpiece. I fell in love with each page. This book seriously helped me as a writer -- I want to imitate this style in my own writing because it's just so darn beautiful. 

The characters were real. It was easy to sympathize with the heroes and hate the villains. The main character, Shahrzad, was so snarky and intelligent, it was wonderful. Khalid, the boy-king, had a wit to match Sharhzad's, though he didn't always show it (those two are so perfect). Other honorable mentions include Khalid's cousin and captain of the guard, Jalal (one of my personal favorites) and Despina the handmaiden. Then of course is Tariq, who I hated. He just needs to go, okay? He is waaay to arrogant for my liking.

The story kept me guessing with every plot twist. There were a few things that I was able to predict, but I didn't mind at all -- I read this book in less than 24 hours because I could not put it down. The love story was sweet and not at all forced (which is a pet peeve of mine). The POV changes often, and that annoyed me every now and then (because I just want to get back to Shahrzad, please!), but every POV change -- in fact every thing in the book -- was there for a reason. Looking back now, I'm glad that the story was told through multiple narratives, because it helped me truly see what was going on.

What I Didn't Love:

Not a darn thing.

Honestly, my biggest problem was the ending. I didn't realize that there was a sequel and started to panic when I realized that there were only 3 pages to solve all the world's problems. When the book ended, I just stared off into space. "It can't end there?!?!" Then I flipped over a few pages and found an excerpt for the sequel. That still doesn't make me feel all too happy. I have to wait a whole year to find out what happens next. *Sigh*

Quote Candy Wallpaper for THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renee Ahdieh // Download at

I give this book 5 stars. Two thumbs up. As high praise as I can. Because it deserves it. I will definitely be watching this author, because boy oh boy, she has a gift. 

So go buy this book. Now. You will thank me. Trust me. This is one of the best books out there.

Have you read The Wrath and the Dawn? If not, is this the type of book that you'd like? Why/why not?


Beautiful People :: July Edition

Saturday, August 1, 2015

It's that time again! Beautiful People: July Edition is here and it has a special question in honor of National Ice Cream Day (am I the only one who got ice-cream? it would have been a crime not to). There are a bunch of good questions this month and I absolutely can't wait to get to them. So why wait any longer?

1. What's their favourite ice cream flavor?
Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee. If it has coffee in it, Brynn will eat it. And there has to be chocolate fudge on it. So.... Probably Double Dunker ice cream.

2. Your character is getting ready for a night out. Where are they going? What are they wearing? Who will they be with?
Brynn slips into her black leggings and laces up her combat boots, then puts on a military-green tank top and ties her hair on top of her head. She meets her best friend, Riley, on her doorstep and they head to the woods for some night hunting.

3. Look at your character's feet. Describe what you see there. Do they wear dress shoes, gym shoes, or none at all? Are they in socks that are ratty and full of holes? What do they consider comfortable and what do they consider agony?
I see thick, warm socks and combat boots. The laces are double knotted and the boots have caked mud on the side. Brynn thinks these are the most comfortable shoes she owns, because they've molded to her feet over the past year or so (the boots are all she wears). She had to wear high heels once and thought she was going to die (I don't really blame her). 

4. Do they have any birthmark or scars? Where are they and how did they get them?
She has a two inch scar in the middle of her right shoulder blade. It happened when she was eight years old and training with her cousin Erik. They where in the woods and running downhill when she slipped and cut herself on a sharp rock. Brynn still holds that over him.

Imagine Dragons5.What kind of music do they listen to? Does it change depending on their mood or is it always consistent? (Feel free to share samples!)
Brynn doesn't have much time to listen to music, but when she does, she locks herself in her room, lays on her bed, and listens to her parent's CDs -- most of which were oldies. The music that soothes her the most is the Beach Boys -- she swears that she remembers her dad listening to it. Her absolute favorite music is Imagine Dragons, because she feels like it was written just for her.

6. Do they have any musical talent? Play an instrument? How's their singing voice?
Brynn doesn't know how to play any instruments, and she has no interest in learning. She has a gorgeous singing voice, but no one would ever know. She would just die if someone heard her sing, because she hates her voice.

7. What kind of book would you catch them reading?
It would probably be a mystery/thriller. Something that involved lots of fight scenes. If Brynn is going to take the time to read, it needs to be something fast-paced so it keeps her attention.

8. How would they spend their summers (or their holidays)?
Hunting. Camping. Spending as much time in the woods as possible. And she would do it all with her cousins and Riley.

9. It's Saturday at noon. What is your character doing? Give details. Ex. If they're eating breakfast, what's on the menu? Are they hiking, shopping, lazing around?
She's sitting in Seth's shop while Seth and Riley modify guns. There's a bag of chips on the work table for her to munch on. If they talk, it isn't about anything serious. Around one o'clock they'll realize that they missed lunch, so Brynn opens another bag of chips and the guys keep working while she watches and maybe catches a nap. That's only on off days, though. If they have an assignment, they are obviously out saving the world. 

10. Is there anything your character wants to be free of?
If you ask Brynn, she would say the corrupt Government -- that's the answer everyone expects and Brynn truly does feel that way. But more than anything, she wants to be free of the memory of her parent's murder.

Did anyone else do Beautiful People?



Saturday, July 4, 2015

First off -- Happy 4th of July! It's grey and rainy here. Not the ideal weather for picnics and such. Oh well.

On to writing....

I have to create a soundtrack for each novel that I write. Call me strange if you wish, but I will do it just the same. There are always two soundtracks that I create: an instrumental one that I can write to, and then the lyrical one that I use as a kind of mood board. Music and lyrics tell a story together -- so writing and songs go hand in hand (at least that's the way I see it). Now here I am to share my soundtrack for my novel Beginning of the End. 

Radioactive Imagine Dragons//Heroes (We Could Be) Alesso ft. Tove Lo// Blood Brothers Luke Bryan//Human Christina Perri//Young Blood Bea Miller//Superman (It's Not Easy) Five for Fighting//Angel with a Shotgun The Cab//Dreaming Alone Against the Current//Lost Michael Buble//Undone FFH//All of Me John Legend//Hesitate Steve Moakler//Superheroes The Script//I Won't Let Go Rascal Flatts

Do you like to write soundtracks for your novel? Why/why not? Do you prefer writing to instrumentals or lyrical songs (I prefer instrumental, myself)?


Avengers: Age of Ultron // Review (Spoiler Free)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Watched this a few days ago. SUCH a good movie! I loved the humor and banter in this one... the dynamics between the characters was fantastic, and of course the bad guy was amazing.

So I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron a last month. The verdict? 

It was amazing.

I think that it is one of (if not the best) Marvel movies yet. It was funny, fairly clean (from what I can remember), the plot kept moving, and the special effects were great. There were only a few problems that I had with the movie. One was kind of a big deal for me, the other was more of an "eh, it's annoying".

My first minor problem was that I felt that sometimes the script was trying a little too hard to be funny. Don't get me wrong--I laughed so many times, and it's humor was right up my alley. There were just a few spots where the jokes felt forced. 

My major problem had to do with the Vision. When the Avengers asked what his name was, he said, "I am... I am." I did not like that at all. In the Bible, Jesus referred to Himself as the Great I AM. So when I heard that in the movie, I was not okay with it. I feel like the scriptwriters knew exactly what they were doing when they added that line in there. Maybe they didn't, I don't know. But I still have a problem with it.

What I Loved:
While they team had their moments, I loved how they were more of a family. The Avengers are the Kings (and Queen) of one liners. Poor Captain America is never going to forget about the "language" thing, is he? And about the hammer contest: If anyone could move Thor's hammer, I thought it would be Cap. Apparently Thor was concerned, too.


When I saw the trailers, I wasn't sure about the twins. I thought that they were going to take away from the Avengers. But I was wonderfully proved wrong. They brought so much to the movie. Scarlet Witch's mind-power thing was neat (and a little creepy) to see. Steve's nightmare (or whatever that mind-control-see-your-worst-fear-thing is) was hard to watch -- all of them were, really. I can't wait to see more. By the middle of the movie, I was a total Quicksilver fan. He's so snarky -- I love it! Plus, brother-sister duos are the best.

I feel much excitement. Much excitement.  Four More AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Images Surface

RDJ Iron Man was amazing as always.
“Age of Ultron The Avengers #like #follow #avengers…”
There was so much going on in this movie. There was a new ship that appeared out of nowhere (I don't know how I feel about it... so many mixed emotions...), major plot twists and there were a lot of doors left open for the future. Is anyone else nervous about what could happen in the next Avengers? Because I am. 

If I wasn't worried about spoilers, I could write two more posts all about this movie. There is so much to talk about. But I will zip my lips and throw away the key.

Did anyone else see the movie? What did you think? Is it just me, or is this the best Avengers movie yet?!


Plans Change

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I'm going back to school.

I'm going back to school for nursing.

If you would have told me this five years ago, my mouth would have dropped to the floor. Back then, I thought that if I went to college, I would go for writing. That was my passion, so duh, I was going to get a degree and write books and be rich. The end.

Then I got old (not really) and decided that I didn't want to go to college, because I just wanted to get married and why waste a ton of money on school if I wasn't going to use my education? After I thought about it and talked about it with my parents, I realized that it would be a good move to have some sort of trade -- what happens if I don't get married, or if I do but my husband dies? Besides, I didn't want to just sit around and twiddle my thumbs until Prince Charming shows up (he could be lost and too stubborn to ask for directions, so I could be waiting awhile).

I went to a local college for a one year certificate program and became a registered medical assistant, which was a mix of medical and office work. I loved the medical stuff, but the office work.... not so much. I ended up working at a preschool -- which is where I will continue to sub until I graduate.

No doubt about it, this was a tough decision to make. I absolutely love working at my preschool -- but I also love anything medical and taking care of sick people. Nursing has been at the back of my mind for a few years now, I've just been scared to take the plunge. There has been plenty of praying and talking and crying about this. It's going to be tough. But I can do it if I really focus. One of my best friends told me that nursing is one of those things that you have to just jump in and commit to -- otherwise you'll always second guess about whether it's right or not.

Quote: "And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." Lesson to learn: The secret to accomplishing great things at work is to love what you do. Keep taking the steps that will get you closer to a career you love.

So I jumped. And I'm scared. Sometimes I'm terrified. But I'm also happy. And excited. So excited. I'm also amazed at how much plans change. I never would have dreamed that I would ever want to be a nurse. I thought I would do something artsy. But there's a beauty about nursing -- you're dealing with human lives when they are at their most vulnerable and needy. I'll have the opportunity to make a huge impact of people's lives. It's definitely going to be an adventure.

What adventures have you jumped into?


Beautiful People :: Parental Edition

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

This month's Beautiful People (hosted by Sky and Cait is all about parent's!! If your character is an orphan (which most of mine tend to be. why??), then you can write about their parental figure. My main character's parental figure is her older cousin, Erik, who raised her after her parents were murdered. I have to be honest -- I have a love-hate relationship with Erik. His character just makes me... ergh... so mad sometimes. Then other times he's a sweetheart.  When he isn't being insensitive, he tries to show his cousin that he does care about her. Even if he isn't sure how to.

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?
No, she doesn't. Brynn's parents were killed when she was just under a year old.

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?
She has her mother's dark hair and dark eyes but she has her father's facial features and expressions.

.3. What's their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!
When Erik is doing paperwork, he wears khaki dressy/cargo pants and a semi-dressy shirt. He likes to look professional (he is leading a revolution, after all) but down to earth at the same time. If he's on the front lines, he wears a combat uniform.

4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most? 
Ha. Brynn takes after Erik a little too much. Pretty much every bad quality comes from Erik. They are both pig-headed, impatient, and terrible perfectionists. Not to mention arrogant. But when they care about something, they care deeply and fight for whatever they want. So Brynn thinks everything evens out.

5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?
They clash more than they get along. Because their personalities are so similar, Brynn and Erik are always arguing. Moments where they get along are rare and brought on by some impending danger.

6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?
Stern. Or maybe aloof. Ooooohh wait -- busy might be better. Any of the three (that's cheating, I know). Brynn feels that Erik is too busy with the rebellion to be a family. So any word that would sum that up would work.

erik & brynn7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life?
Erik taught Brynn that you need to fight for what you want and keep your eyes on the prize. The world might be falling apart around you, but you have to stay strong and focus. Brynn might not even realize it, but that thought affects her life everyday. She also learned how to fight from Erik -- Brynn's life wouldn't be the same without that instruction.

8.What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?
Brynn decided that she wanted to join the special ops team -- Erik said absolutely not. They didn't speak to each other for a week or two. Brynn thought that Erik was being unreasonable until she chewed him out one day and he explained why he didn't want her to join. She was finally able to see it from his point of view -- and she got her own way (she's spoiled :p).

9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?
Brynn's father and Erik's mother (who were brother and sister) were of Irish heritage. People say that's where their fiery nature come from -- Brynn swears that's just a stereotype and therefore, isn't true. Erik isn't sure what nationality his father's family was, and Brynn's mother was sure that she had Italian in her blood.

10. What's their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?
Her sixth birthday, no doubt about it. Brynn can see it when she closes her eyes -- Erik ran in late to her birthday dinner, just when she thought he wasn't going to come. She stayed up late eating too much cake and playing with her gifts, then Erik tucked her into bed and sang silly songs and danced until she fell asleep. Whenever Brynn feels neglected, she remembers that day. And she doesn't feel so bad.

If anyone else is doing Beautiful People, make sure to leave a link in the comments!!


Beautiful People :: May Edition (in June)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hello there! I know that this is a little late, but I figure that it's better late than never. Right? Right. The point is that I finally got this posted. Let's just be happy with that.

May's edition of Beautiful People (hosted by Cait and Sky) had 10 random questions. It really got me thinking about my character (as always) and gave me the breakthrough that I have been waiting on for nearly three weeks (my writing buddy--who happens to be my cousin--will attest to that).  Three weeks is a long time to go without writing, people! But now I have enough inspiration to make sentences again. So I'm happy.

It took me a few days to decide which character to feature for this... er... last month's questions. I finally decided on Maverick Adams from my novel Beginning of the End. I originally couldn't stand this character because he was such a pain in the neck. He's now one of my favorite characters. Isn't writing a mysterious thing?

So here is my once-hated-now-loved Maverick.

Colton Haynes in Abercrombie & Fitch's Spring 2014 "Making of a Star" campaign

1. Do they get nightmares? If so, why or what of?
The one thing that haunts Maverick is the day his parents were killed. Usually something triggers the nightmares, whether it's a battle or a phrase that his dad used to say. He sees it so clearly: the bombs fall and a cloud of dust envelopes his parents. Then he wakes up and has to relive the pain all over again.

2. What is their biggest guilty pleasure/secret shame?
Maverick hates that he has nightmares about his parents. He doesn't want anyone to know that he still isn't over his parent's deaths--because that means he's weak. Any show of his soft-side embarrasses Maverick. He has a tough image to portray, after all.

3. Are they easily persuaded or do they need more proof?
It really depends on what is at stake. But for the most part, Maverick needs proof. He gets more stubborn every day. Sometimes he's stubborn just to be stubborn and annoy people.

4. Do they suffer from any phobias? Does it affect their life in a big way?
Yes, he does. Bombs have filled Maverick with dread ever since his parents were killed. If Maverick hears the whistling of a falling bomb, he freezes. That can be deadly when he's in combat.

5. What do they consider their "Achilles heel"?
Maverick knows that his parents are gone, but they are still his weakness. Nothing can get to Maverick more than something that has to do with his parents. If you want to get to Maverick, bring up his past. It will work every time.

6. How do they handle a crisis?
With a cool head. Others might panic, but Maverick thrives in emergencies. He sees the wisest decision and steps up to what needs done when no one else will.

7. Do they have a temper?
Oh, yes. Oh my my, yes. Get in his way and he will tear your head off. It might be something simple, like a glance that Maverick doesn't like--you never know what will set him off. First his face turns red and his jaw tightens. That's your cue to leave.

8. What are their core values and/or religious beliefs?
He isn't sure what he believes. His father always taught him to put others first, but Maverick cares a little too much about himself to be sacrificial--unless it benefits him. Sometimes when there's quiet, Maverick thinks about his feelings and beliefs. He usually walks away without figuring anything out.

9. What things do they value most in life?
His most prized material possession is the outfit he wore when his parents were killed. It's the only thing he has from his old life, and it makes him feel closer to his parents. What he values most, though, is his aunt, who raised him when he was orphaned. Next comes the Kearney--and his position in the Kearney.

10. What is one major event that helped shape who they are?
Obviously the death of his parents changed Maverick forever. He was sent to live with his aunt in the rebel camp and was befriended by Riley. Then his fighting skills and intelligence were noticed and he was offered a spot in an elite fighting group. None of that would have happened if Maverick's parents were still living. It also made him a little more cynical than his friends.


Did anyone else do Beautiful People in May? Anyone planning on joining up for June?