October 2015 - further up and further in

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When Plans Change (Beautiful Books #1.5?)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 7
When Plans Change (Beautiful Books #1.5?)
I've already solidified my plans for NaNo. You saw it. You know this. I knew it. I'd been planning on this for six months.

Today, things might've changed.

"Tell me why all the best laid plans / Fall apart in your hands..." - James Blunt
I feel ya, James Blunt.

My brain: Hey. So. You've been planning what to write for NaNo for six months.
My brain: You may have a book cover, a cast, and a loose plot.
My brain: But... What if you wrote the novel you came up with two seconds ago?
My brain: Just think about it.

I got a new novel idea today, and I can't stop thinking about it. So, to weigh the pros and cons, I'm answering the Beautiful Books questions again. I know, I know. But bear with me here. I have a great need to make this decision... the success of my NaNo novel depends on it.

Here we go.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I came up with the book at about 2:15 this afternoon. 

I was thinking about how I was hot in the outfit I was wearing and how I wished I could change my clothes with only a thought (magically, like Regina in Once Upon a Time). I then realized that if I did have magic, I'd probably use it for the most ridiculous things. A bunch of characters--rascals, really--popped into my brain, and the rest is history.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

I really enjoy humor, so that's one reason to write this book. I've had Metal and Bone (candidate for NaNo #1) for so long that I've gotten used to the idea and it isn't as new to me. For this new idea, I like the idea of starting completely from scratch and writing a new story.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

A bunch of immature young people are gifted with magic and the ability to do (almost) anything. What could possibly go wrong?

The title is Leo Andromedus Saves the World. Don't ask me where I got that. It's so opposite of my normally poetic titles, but it sounded catchy.

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

Leo: Enigmatic

Emilie: Alive

Allan: Charismatic

Raven: Ethereal

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them! 
Obviously Leo will be fun, since he's the main character (I've barely ever written from the POV of a guy before). My favorites so far, though, are Allan and Emilie. Allan is Leo's best friend and he's the leader in their friendship, while Leo is his sidekick, so it'll be interesting to view Allan from the perspective of his sidekick. Emilie is just really cool and probably funny and kick-butt. Allan and Emilie are the fun-loving partners-in-crime, whereas Leo and Raven are very thoughtful about life, the universe, and everything. They'll probably get in many predicaments and all the dynamics will be so fun to write.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
Leo's goal is to have a normal life. Drastic, horrible things (like saving the world) keep getting in the way.
Emilie's goal is to have fun and relax. Drastic, horrible things (like saving the world) keep getting in the way. 
Allan's goal is to become ruler of the world. Drastic, horrible things (like saving the world) keep getting in the way.
Raven's goal is to write poetry all day long and get her lit degree. Drastic, horrible things (like saving the world) keep getting in the way. 

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

(But seriously. Probably at a boarding school and then all over America. Or the world.)

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
The bond and relationships between my main four are the most important thing.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Maybe Leo embraces his magic as a good thing?

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?My goal with this book is to enjoy the heck out of writing it... but much like Metal and Bone, the theme is friendship. And lots of laughter.

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

1. You can always get caught up.
The first year I did NaNo, I did the Young Writers' Program and wrote 30k. In the second year, I decided halfway through the month that I wanted to make it to 50k. I wrote 25k in about a week. The point is, you are never too far behind. (I mean... people have written 50,000 words in a day before.) So just remember that there is always a way. 

2. If you get stuck... MAKE SOMETHING WEIRD HAPPEN.

When I was trying to write 25k in a week, I made my main character go to a knitting party with a bunch of old ladies. True story.

I've also killed people, had people bring out weapons, and done all sorts of unexpected things. It's NaNo, so have fun with it!

3. Word wars!
These are a godsend. You can find my post about them here.

4. Chocolate. Lots of it.

Okay, that's it from me. How do you decide what novel to write for NaNo?! Tell me everything.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Introducing Metal and Bone (Beautiful Books #1)

Monday, October 12, 2015 9
Introducing <i>Metal and Bone</i> (Beautiful Books #1)

It's my favorite time of year again: NaNoWriMo time! In addition to NaNo, there's this kinda awesome thing happening this fall: Beautiful Books, my blog link-up with Cait @ Paper Fury. Click here if you want more details.

I'm here to enter my own link-up because blogging about my books is my favorite thing to do.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I was trying to come up with something that hasn't been done before, and the basic premise for my novel hit me. The rest of it was cobbled together through pictures on Pinterest. Pinterest says I pinned the first picture a year ago, so I'm going to go by that. (It feels like much longer.) The first pin I found was of Lana, my main character, here.

The book has changed a bit. I didn't expect it to stick around. I originally had Louis Tomlinson in the novel, as well as a brother for Lana. Colt wasn't in my original plans, either. At first this book was a standalone, but then I ended up connecting it to Lost Girls, my NaNo novel from last year. Colt is the older brother of Cooper and Bryn, who were in Lost Girls. He was the missing piece, which ended up making this much better.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
It's been around for so long, and it is so very atmospheric. It's going to whisk me back to futuristic California, which I can't wait for. All of the characters have such vibrant personalities and I'm in love with each of them.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
My book is called Metal and Bone (I'm not copying Leigh Bardugo, I swear). My synopsis kinda sucks, but here it is:

Lana Michener has always loved the horse races in distant-future Los Angeles. Ever since she was a little girl, she dreamed of competing in the prestigious yearly derby. She's managed to land a spot as a jockey in this year's race, and it seems like all her dreams are coming true. Soon she meets Colt, a fellow jockey with a family secret; Kess, a mechanic supporting her two siblings; and Jax, a quirky computer geek with a lively personality. As the race draws near, Lana grows closer to her little group of misfits, but when it comes time to race, it becomes clear her childhood dreams are on the line. And ultimately the question on Lana's mind is... will she win?

Basically: wild horses, a bunch of extroverts, and the ocean. Should be fun.

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

Lana Michener


Colt Matthews


(You can tell he's lost because he's heavily pondering things in both of these pictures.)

Kess Matthews


Jax Weathers


Grey Hollens


(I know, I know. Grey and Jamie Dornan in the same novel? I already realized the coincidence.)

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
Okay, well, honestly I'm excited to write all of them. I love Lana because she's got a fire inside of her. Colt is connected to my beloved novel Lost Girls and I get to give his family cameos. Kess (Colt's cousin) has been through some serious crap, and even with her bright hair and punk exterior, she's surprisingly sensitive. Jax will be my comic relief, but he also has a dark secret (that I don't know about yet). Grey is enigmatic and very wild, so I look forward to writing her as well. (Basically everyone in this book is an extroverted daredevil. Fun stuff.)

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
Lana's goal is to win the race. 24 other jockeys stand in the way.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
Lana is from San Francisco, but the horse races happen in Los Angeles. So, a bit of both maybe. Colt's home is in Santa Monica (the setting of Lost Girls) so maybe he'll head back there for a visit, too.

(I might be a wee bit obsessed with ocean pictures.)

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
Lana will hopefully be friends with almost everyone in the novel, and each of them will be important to her in different ways. However, she and Colt are planned love interests (assuming they don't rebel and fall in love with someone else).

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
I have no idea. I think maybe she learns to rely on other people rather than do everything herself. We'll see.

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
The themes in this book are basically friendship. I want all my characters to be close to each other and lift each other up in different ways. I'm looking forward to writing each of their relationships.

As far as how I want my readers to feel... maybe like they've just gotten done having a smoothie with a friend. (I'd say coffee, but Metal and Bone is perfectly suited to fruity chilled drinks.)

NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
1. Don't think about what you're writing; just do it. You can edit it later as long as it's on the page. If you don't write it, then you have nothing to edit later.

2. Find a community and then plug yourself into it. Whether it's on the NaNoWriMo site or in a writing group on Facebook, find someone you can attempt this really wild adventure with.

3. Have fun! It doesn't matter if every word you write is profound as long as you're enjoying writing your novel and the characters in it.

Have you done Beautiful Books? How's your NaNo planning going? What's your best NaNo advice?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Beautiful Books: Introduce Your Novel!

Saturday, October 10, 2015 1
Beautiful Books: Introduce Your Novel!
Hello, writerlings! I know Beautiful People is late this month, and the reason for that is that Cait and I were working on a surprise. (And we forgot, but we won't discuss that.) What surprise, you may ask?

Some of you might remember that last year Beautiful People was put on pause for us to spend some time talking about our novels: our beautiful books. (Get it?) We themed it around NaNoWriMo, and since November is next month (eek!), a slightly revamped version of Beautiful Books is back!

You may have a few questions about this.

Do I have to be doing NaNo to participate? Absolutely not! While the general format is suited well to writers doing NaNo, we want this blog link-up to be for everyone! Just pick a work-in-progress and you'll be good to go. Come one, come all!

How does it work? The format is really similar to Beautiful People. Each month, we'll be posting 10 questions, except this time for you to answer about your WIP (or yourself!). You'll take our 10 questions and answer them on your blog, then come back and link up here! And don't forget to go around and read the posts of the other participants--it could be a great way to make friends!

What about Beautiful People? Beautiful People will be back! But for now, show your WIP some love! There’s always the archive if you get the itch to do BP as well.

So... what do I do? Sit tight and read the questions Cait and I will post, then use them to help you think through one of your novels! Then link back, and overall be your awesome self! Also, if you want to share this with your friends, we aren't at all opposed! Making this one big party would be really cool.

Don't forget to link back, either via a text link or this fancy blog button.

And now, for the questions!

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
NaNoWriMo BONUS: Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

Are you doing NaNo? How are you going to prepare for this wild adventure? Leave me a comment below!

Friday, October 9, 2015

The One Where I Go to Oregon

Friday, October 09, 2015 6
The One Where I Go to Oregon
At the beginning of this year, I decided something: it was time for me to travel. It's been difficult for me to travel due to my chronic illness, and to be honest, my anxiety was a huge factor as well. But this year, I decided that at 19 years old, it was time to go somewhere outside my comfort zone. I didn't have any specific plans, but I decided that if the opportunity to travel presented itself, I would go.

Cut to my friend Trishelle (some of you may know her as Georgie...) telling me that she was going to school in Minnesota, and she was going on a major crosscountry road trip to get there. One of the stops included Colorado, so a weird idea started forming in my brain: what if I went with her from Colorado to Minnesota, then flew home? It would be fun, it would allow me to see the U.S. (including Mount Rushmore), and it would be a way to stretch my wings.

In July, it became clear that Trishelle actually couldn't go out to school in August due to finances. So, we readjusted. I took the money I'd saved and I bought a plane ticket... to Oregon. It was time for Trishelle to show me her world. I would also be able to see the wild city of Portland and the ocean--my very first time.

I landed in Portland on September 5th and what followed was one of the most awesome weeks of my life.

Day One // Saturday, 9.5.15

My mom, sister, and I drove into Denver and checked me into the flight. We went through airport security, where this nice guy let me bring my protein shakes through even though they were too big. (Thank you, sir!) Then we ate some Panda Express and before I knew it, it was almost time for my flight to board.

This was my first flight, so I'll admit it, I was nervous. Due to my nervousness, my mom asked if I could meet one flight attendant.

Um. They brought out two flight attendants and the PILOT. They were extremely nice and the pilot said he'd show me the cockpit.

Then we boarded, and I forgot to go see the cockpit. I know, I know. I'm still mad at myself.

My first flight was nervewracking and yet actually kind of fun. Seeing the clouds up close was stunning, honestly, and there was a moment where we were in the middle of a cloud and totally shrouded in it. I was in a window seat next to a couple who slept the whole time (and who looked like Dustin Hoffman and Laura Dern).

close enough.

The plane landed and as it did, I fell in love with Oregon immediately. It reminded me a bit of Colorado. I got off the plane and that was it. I was in Portland!

I met up with Georgie at a security checkpoint and we promptly took a selfie.

pc: Trishelle
After that we checked into our hotel, then ventured out to find something to eat. We got lost in Portland and drove around for about thirty minutes before we finally found a parking garage. Trishelle googled good food places close by, and as soon as we exited the parking garage, there it was... Fathead's Brewery.

Their logo is this smiling dude and it's on everything (even imprinted in the backs of the chairs). Even though I had said I didn't want a burger, I ordered a burger. Sadly, due to being underage, I could not sample this brewery's beer, so we left with a slightly lackluster view of our experience.

We went back to the hotel and changed into our pajamas, then laid on the bed and watched TV. As I came out of the bathroom, Trishelle pointed to the screen and said there was an assault happening right by us. Well, 20 minutes from us. For me, this was routine--for her, this was shocking. I'm from a big city and she's from a small town, so we had very different views about how dramatic this was.

We watched TV until we fell asleep. 

Day Two // Sunday, 9.6.15

I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't sleep because I was in pain, so I got on my iPod for a bit until I fell asleep. I didn't wake up until 11, and by then we needed to get out of the hotel, so we packed all my crap up and left. We went to a cafe close by for breakfast, called Prescott Cafe. It was an old house that was converted into a restaurant, and the atmosphere was amazing. Diner coffee, red booth seats, and a waitress that called you "hon." PRICELESS.


I know you're thinking something like this...

Here's the thing: I have a really hard time buying books. I like to know I love them before I spend money on them. So I was skeptical on the fact that I was going to Powell's. I mean, I wanted to see it for the atmosphere, but I didn't know if I'd buy anything. Before we got there, I said, "I don't know what I even will buy. Maybe The Great Gatsby? And I wanna take a look at the young adult section."


I loved the young adult section! There was every book I ever wanted to read! Even in the adult section I found every book I wanted to read! Powell's is a dangerous place!

I walked out with my favorite books ever: The Great Gatsby, This Lullaby, and Fangirl; a used copy of the awesome Divergent; a Calvin & Hobbes book for my sister and dad; and a risky new purchase: Since You've Been Gone

 I spent $77 on books. Not ashamed. If you ever go to Powell's, just know that it's dangerous.

We poked our heads into the Rare Book Room where I saw a giant Marvel comics collection worth more than my entire wardrobe, as well as hand-written books from years ago that cost $1,000. 

Then it was time to hit the road. Where were we going? THE COAST.

Our road led us through the more vineyard-esque parts of Oregon. It also led us to a barn called Bernard's Farm, where we stopped off to use the restroom. Inside they had a lot of produce and some flowers, and we bought some caramel for the road (it was delicious).

After a few hours of driving through the forest, we were about to hit the coast. I caught my first glimpses of the ocean through buildings and trees, and then we hit a stretch where it opened up in front of me and I thought... is this real?

It got even more real when we reached Newport, Oregon, which would be our home for the next day and a half. I could see it clearly then, bright blue. Still wasn't sure if it was real.

We were extremely hungry so, much like in Portland, we stopped off at the first restaurant we saw, which was more different than anything I've ever experienced. After that, we dumped our stuff at the hotel and tried to book it back to the beach before it got dark. We made it right as the sun was setting. We had to walk down some steps to get to it, and I was so excited. 

Seeing the ocean for the first time is something that kind of goes beyond words. It was so wild and beautiful and alive. I stood in the middle of the waves, ignoring how cold they were, and I drank in every moment. It's something I won't be forgetting.

Back at the hotel, we watched How I Met Your Mother. Then Friends came on. Trishelle is a huge fan of Friends, but I hadn't quite figured out what made it so special yet.

Oh, trust me. I know now.

This one episode came on where Joey was on the game show Pyramid, and I could not stop laughing. 

I decided I need to watch Friends more. We kept watching it until we fell asleep.

Day Three // Monday, 9.7.15

We got up early and ate breakfast at Newport Cafe before heading down to the historic Newport Bay, which had a pier and lots of shops. On the pier, I found an orange tabby cat (named Colby or something?) who belonged to one of the shop owners, and he promptly decided to lay on my feet. He apparently liked me. It took a lot of effort to pull myself away from him!

We went to some shops and I bought some rings (because hallelujah they had ring sizes bigger than size 8). After this, we decided to go to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, where I proceeded to see sharks and touch anemones. (Though I was disappointed that I didn't see any whales or dolphins. Turns out I was thinking of Sea World.)

After the aquarium, we took off to visit the beach one more time. Our destination of choice? A lighthouse. Yaquina Head, to be exact.

We got out into the wind where we were on cliffs above the ocean, like something out of a movie (or Because I'm Irish). Though we chose not to go inside the lighthouse, we did take a millions steps down to Yaquina Head's Cobble Beach, a beach filled with craggy rocks and tons of pebbles. This time, the cold Oregon water really did make me freeze. We touched some anemones in tide pools and watched the waves crash against the rocks for a while until we decided to take off. It was magical.

From there, we headed out of Newport and to Central Oregon, where we reached Trishelle's family's house after 3 and a half hours of driving (through Corvallis and the Willamette National Forest. It was magical). We ate dinner and settled in to watch more Friends. It was a good decision.

Day Four // Tuesday, 9.8.15

Trishelle had to work, so I spent most of my day writing and working on blog stuff. (Though sadly I didn't post here, as you could probably tell...) When she got off, we headed over to her friend's house for a free Mary Kay facial. I was able to meet one of Trishelle's closest friends and quiz her about make up. Win win.

After that, I believe we went home and watched Bob's Burgers, but don't quote me on that.

Day Five // Wednesday, 9.9.15

The next day was Wednesday, Trishelle's sole day off all week. 

Naturally, we decided to make the best of it. I had arranged to meet a Twitter friend that afternoon at Dudley's in Bend, but Trishelle and I drove up there beforehand to look around at Bend and some of the shops. I saw Drake Park, which is gorgeous, and I found a couple of things I wanted to buy but couldn't. Such as these sunglasses.

We then ran over to Dudley's, an atmospheric bookstore/cafe, where we met up with my dear Twitter friend (and now awesome real-life friend), Kaylee

We ended up talking for hours, so much so that she lost track of time and was late for another commitment. It was honestly amazing. I love the people the internet connects me to. 

After that, we met up with Trishelle's awesome friend who took us shooting. When we were done, we went to a brewery in Bend where I ordered a burger and then proceeded to taste a magical tea called Kombucha. I drank mine so fast and I'm so sad that I didn't have more of it. It was wonderful. 

Then we went home and watched Bob's Burgers (I think?).

Day Six // Thursday, 9.10.15

Trishelle was working, so Trishelle's awesome mom and brother decided to take me to the Dee Wright Observatory, which is basically a really cool castle type thing built out of lava rocks. It's for observing all the mountains around Central Oregon, so I got a really good look at all of them. It was amazing.

We went home and when Trishelle got here, it became clear that she had an extremely bad headache, so we gave her some medicine and she rested. After it had calmed down slightly, she took me out to Smith Rock, which was so beautiful and peaceful. True to what I had expected, it reminded me a lot of Colorado's own Garden of the Gods. For a while, we just sat and watched the view, as well as the rock climbers, and it was amazing.

Trishelle's headache was worse later, so we laid low that night.

Day Seven // Friday, 9.11.15

Unfortunately, Trishelle's headache had gotten so bad that they took her into the emergency room. She was put on meds and was drowsy for the whole afternoon. Because of that, I went up to Bend again to meet with my Twitter friend one more time before leaving. We met at The Looney Bean in Bend, which was... um... THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER.

I ordered a drink called the Dirty Hippie, solely for its name, and it was the most heavenly drink I've ever tasted. (It was an espresso mixed with a chai latte. Try it if you're ever in town.)

My friend and I talked about everything under the sun and I realized that I have kindred spirits all over the world.

Please take a moment to appreciate her beautiful and perfect dog, Aerie.
After that, I headed to a gift shop to find souvenirs for my family, and then we picked up Papa Murphy's and came home. Trishelle woke up and felt a bit better, so we decided to watch Friends for our last night together. That is, after she helped me pack up my suitcase after I was panicking about all the stuff I couldn't fit in. Turns out going to Powell's isn't good for the luggage.

We went to bed early because we would soon be waking up at 4:30...

Day Eight // Saturday, 9.12.15

We woke up and somehow got ourselves at the door by 5:00, where we drove along empty dark Oregon highways. There's something that feels weird about being up before anyone else is. I often see 4:30 am, but not because I wake up that early. (I'm an insomniac.)

I tried to sleep, but soon gave up and sat up. We drove through Mt. Hood national forest (and I saw the legendary Mt. Hood), which led us to Portland. We checked in at the airport, ate some breakfast from Mo's, and then waited for my flight.

When they started boarding, it was bittersweet. I missed Colorado and my family and home, but one thing was for sure: I had fallen in love with Oregon.

On the way back to Colorado, I sat next to an older couple from India who also slept the whole time (like my seatmates Dustin and Laura from the flight out). I read Since You've Been Gone the whole time, which squelched any claustrophobia or anxiety I might've had, and then I landed. I was reunited with my family, who I missed a bunch, and I was back in Colorado. As we drove home, everything was a daze. Oregon had been like a dream; it wasn't perfect but it was very dang close. It was everything I dreamed my first trip to be. I saw the ocean, tried Kombucha, shot a gun, met new friends, saw Trishelle's world, and... spread my wings. I feel more independent than ever. 

Oregon, I love you and I can't wait to come back. 

My only question is... what adventure will I go on next?

Have you been to Oregon (or somewhere else)? How was your trip? What adventures have you gone on recently?