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