Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014’s Journey


In these last days of 2014, I can’t help but look back and count all the many, many gifts God blessed me with this year. We’ve had quite a few hardships come our way these past few years, but this year has been a much better one. The best one in a while, in fact. If there’s one thing I learned this year, it’s that God is ALWAYS with us. No matter what we go through or where we are in life, He’s there. Guiding us, caring for us, loving us. Always and forever. When I’ve struggled to find comfort and joy, His love has encompassed me, reminding me I don’t have to go through it alone.

I feel like this year really reminded me that, hey, life is a beautiful thing. And there’s joy to be found EVERYWHERE. I’ve hit a few milestones, experienced numerous exciting moments, and just had an all around lovely year.

I think we need a list. I mean, who doesn’t love lists??

This year I. . .

-After a torturous 2 year wait, started the year off right with BBC’s Sherlock season 3. FINALLY. (Now where’s season 4?)

-Had the opportunity three different times to stay with one of my very bestest friends of 14 years who woefully lives out of town. During which we fangirled obsessively over Sherlock, sniffed the majority of the books in almost every bookstore in town, and ate copious amounts of snickerdoodles.

-Participated in the precious Kiri Liz's Valentine Dear Love Blog Party.

-Saw Tim Hawkins live and laughed my socks off.

-Experienced my little sister driving for the first time. . .and in my car. o.O Okay, okay, I was actually very impressed and proud! (You know, after I recovered from a heart attack.)

-Did much squealing when one of my other besties had her first baby, the cutest baby girl you ever did see!

-Participated in my very first Camp NaNo in April and made my goal of 30k words.

-Said goodbye to 21 and turned 22 years old. O_O

-Got my very first SMARTPHONE. Whom I call Lola and love.

-Experienced the magic that is Baskin Robbins ice cream. I can never return to a life without it.

-Went to see Maleficent in theaters and FELL. IN. LOVE. It is now officially on my list of favorite movies. (Not that I have a physical list, but ya know. . .)

-Revisited Hiccup and Toothless in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and enjoyed it almost (emphasis on the “almost”) as much as the first movie.

-Wrote Fallen Matter, a dystopianish, sci-fi book (which is something I NEVER thought I’d write) and completely fell in love with it to the point that it took over my life. Seriously.

-After a lifetime of despising it, discovering I actually like reading and writing in first person.

-Joined a critique group of girls that has been one of the BIGGEST blessings in my life this year. You all know who you are. Love you guys! <3

-Wrote my first novella—a Beauty and the Beast story for the Rooglewood Press fairytale contest.

-Had the chance to visit the first house my brother and I lived in. Now that was special!

-With a few tears, said goodbye to Matt Smith, Doctor Who’s 11th Doctor. But excitedly welcomed Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor. He’s an absolute perfect Doctor!

-Got the awesome opportunity of critiquing numerous novels by my super talented friends. Guys, get your novels published! The rest of the world needs them!

-Experienced the “fun” of sanding and putting polyurethane down on the floors. (Okay, hectic, not fun. But it was an experience. o.o At least our floors look better now.)

-Witnessed a fox just hanging around outside of my grandmother’s apartment. Foxes are one of my favoritest animals and I’ve always wanted to come across one and it was just THERE. Made my year!

-Took an impromptu trip where we found a secondhand bookstore as big as a warehouse and I got an almost replica of Legolas’s twin blades.

-Celebrated the birth of my other bestie’s precious, adorable baby boy! Two new babies. In one year. It was fantastic! <3

-Got to actually MEET my bestest internet buddy, writing partner, and fellow Tolkien lover Celti in PERSON. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

-Had a FANTASTIC time writing More White than Stars for NaNoWriMo and making a record of finishing a book in 22 days.

-Discovered the awesomeness that is the board game Carcassonne. Seriously, go check it out. My family is addicted.

-Shed a lot of tears in the Mockingjay Part 1 movie. Oh, how shall I survive part 2?

-Hit a big milestone of sending off my Beauty and the Beast novella to the contest judges. That’s the first time I’ve ever done anything “official” with my writing. Wow, so nerve-wracking! But now that the first time is done, maybe any future such experiences will be a wee bit easier.

-Visited Middle Earth for perhaps the last time in theaters by seeing The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Tolkien’s stories shaped the Christine I am today, so that was a very emotional time for me. Bittersweet.

-Had an absolutely LOVELY Christmas celebrating the Birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2014, you have been good to me. I feel as though I’ve made strides in my writing, discovered a lot about life, made some awesome new friends, and experienced God’s love time and time again. I still have a LOT of growing to do, but I’m grateful for what I have learned this year.

2015, you’re a new slate. Soon color shall splash onto your fresh pages and swirl into another year full of brand new adventures.

And I can’t wait.

Adventure Awaits You

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Life Worth Celebrating


It’s so easy to forget what this time of year means. I’ve struggled with it a lot this year. Our house has been a bit hectic lately in Christmas preparations. Amidst all the busyness and excitement, I’ve lost track of why we do this every year. Why we spend so much time buying gifts and decorating and cooking and meeting with family. But then it hit me.

It’s a celebration.

We put in a lot of preparation to celebrate the birth of a friend or family member, right? We want to celebrate the day they were born and spend that time in fun and laughter. Because we love them. And we want to show them our love.

Christmas is the celebration for the most Glorious Life of all. Our greatest loved one.

Jesus Christ came down on this Earth, humbled Himself as a baby, all to die. Die for us. His perfect life for our sinful ones.

We celebrate Him because we love Him. He loves us. Unconditionally, always.

So this year, as I enjoy the festive decorations adorning our house, share gifts with friends and family, partake in scrumptious ham and delectable desserts, bounce around to fun holiday music, I want to remember why. To remember that it’s all in celebration for HIM. The One who saved me. The One who humbled Himself so I might live. The One whose life is worth celebrating everyday.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

And a Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope each and every one of you have a memorable, blessed Christmas in celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Beautiful Books #3 - Let’s Edit This Thing!

How are we halfway through December? And how is Christmas almost here? HOW???

Time moving in hyperspeed aside, today I’m joining in on the third round of the Beautiful Books linkup, hosted by the ever fabulous Sky and Cait. This three-part linkup has been going on since October where they gave us fifteen questions about plotting our books. In November we discussed the writing aspect. And this month it’s all about that terrifying thing we call *whispers* editing. But that’s one of the millions of reasons why Sky and Cait are fabulous, they’re actually making the editing process enjoyable! See? Pure fabulousness.

Want to join in? Of course you do! You can answer these questions on any one of your projects, whether you’re planning on editing it soon or not. The questions are still helpful, not to mention fun! Here is Sky's post about it and Cait's right here. Either one will take you to the questions and the linky to join right up in all the excitement.

Beautiful Books Button

Now I know I’ve used the first two of this linkup to discuss my NaNo novel More White than Stars, but I’m gonna be honest with you. That thing isn’t going to get any sort of editing done for many, many years to come. That was the 5th book of a series, remember? Before even sort of thinking about rewrites I want to write all the books and there’s still two more to go. Then sometime after that I’ll start rewriting them in order, which means the first four get priority before More White than Stars gets any attention. So. . .yes. We’re talking many, many years down the road for the poor thing. But it’s written and I had a blast with it. I’ll come back to it someday, I will!

What does that mean for my writing now though? Remember Fallen Matter? The book I basically talked only about on my blog this year? Yep, it’s planning on dominating my life again. Come January I plan on jumping into a big ol’, major, overwhelming rewrite of it. What better way to prepare than join in on an editing linkup?

So let’s get to it! (Because I believe I’ve rambled enough. . .)

Fallen Matter Cover

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?
Well, that’s a question. . . This book was a dystopian-ish, scifi novel, two things I NEVER thought I’d write. I’m a medieval fantasy kind of girl. So writing it was quite the experience. I had no idea what I was doing. And yet, in the end, it become one of my most favorite things I’ve ever written. I really liked the cast, and was rather proud of how the plot turned out. I think it was a lot better executed than any of my previous works. Erm. . .6 1/2? 7? Because while I do love it, I totally pantsed it and churned it out pretty speedily, so the quality is rather low. Not to mention it became way, way too long.

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s Secrets of Camelot Coveryour plan?
I plunged into my first rewrite ever just last year with a book called Secrets of Camelot. I’ve been terrified of rewriting my whole life, but I finally took that step and. . .it wasn’t so bad. A lot of work, yes, but it was actually kind of fun seeing my mess of a story shape up into something mortal eyes can look upon without burning out of their sockets. Truthfully, it could use yet another rewrite, my writing has come a long way since then. But if nothing else, the experience finally proved to me that I can rewrite without falling into an early grave.

For that one I didn’t really do anything to prepare myself. I just told myself to take one sentence at a time, opened up the document, and began. This time though I want to be very serious about Fallen Matter and make it the best it can be. So the process is probably going to be. . .a lot. Reading through it, making notes, maybe even doing some outlining (scary thought for this pantser). It actually might be a while before I’m even ready to do the real rewriting. I don’t know, we shall see.

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?
An. . .erm. . .embarrassing length.


164,474 words.

Yeeep. And I want to cut it down to at least 100k. If I disappear some time next year, just know it’s because this rewrite killed me.

4. What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?
*cackles* Definitely not pacing. XDDD I’m going to have to say plot. This one has a lot more twists and turns and surprises and connections and fewer clichés than all my other works. I was pleased with how it turned out, crazy long or not. Although there are also a few characters I can’t help but love.

5. What’s your favorite bit of prose or line from this novel?
Oh goodness. I really have no idea. Basically any time Cyrus or Lykan was around I was happy. (I may have favored them a teeny bit. *cough*) I really liked this moment between my MC Breighly and Lykan—

"So I take it you spent some time in this underground place?" Lykan asked.

"Elan and I stumbled upon it after you...um...I..."

"Stabbed a needle through my arm rendering me useless?" he offered.

Biting my lip, I averted my gaze to the scuffed white street. "Yeah."

"Yep, that was all good fun."

"Well, you deserved it," I shot back defensively, more trying to convince myself than him.

"I think we've been down this road before. We both seemed to have betrayed and helped one another equally so far. While we're currently even, we'll call it good until the next time we do something treacherous. Seems to be the pattern."

His words held a curious truth. "We're not the most trustworthy of partners, are we?"

"Keeps things interesting."

Lykan Nodding GIF

I think that sums up the majority of the book pretty well. . .

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?
As I said, the writing it pretty messy. Mostly the narrative. It definitely needs some cleaning up. And cutting. Good gracious, does it need cutting. Also, sadly, I wasn’t too wild about my main character Breighly. That’s not a good sign. I think she’ll need an overhaul in this next draft, I’m just trying to figure out how. Completely remaking a character is something kind of new to me, usually they just make themselves. Not sure how that’s going to work out.

7. What aspect of your book is your favorite?

The story is set in this city placed inside an impenetrable, inescapable cube basically. I sort of have this thing about people trapped inside certain areas (like in The Maze Runner, for an example, or the arenas in The Hunger Games). I don’t know why, I just find it a lot of fun. I think I had a bit too much fun making an entire city live inside this cube.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?
I actually think this story has some of the most human characters I’ve ever written. I was extremely pleased with all of them. But, as I said, Breighly wasn’t my favorite. She might be a bit. . .too human. I don’t know. Her personality just rubbed me the wrong way, but I’m not sure how to fix it because it makes sense why she is the way she is. But I want her to be likeable so. . .I don’t know. Hopefully I’ll figure out something.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?
I had so much fun with this book. I can’t even think of anything I would have really done differently. Sure, it’s messy, but I like writing messy first drafts. That’s when I discover the story, not make it pretty. I don’t have any regrets about that. I guess pacing it better would have been nice. But I was discovering the story, I didn’t know how to pace it because I didn’t know what happened next. So I don’t know if I would have done anything differently. For the first draft stage, that is.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

Erm. . .let me explain.

See, when I started this book I had NO clue what was happening. Two words popped in my head I’m falling and that’s all I had. Two words, literally. I just started writing because I couldn’t get those words out of my head. When I was three chapters in, I still didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know who Breighly was, or where she was, or why, or anything about the cube, or that it was even a dystopian novel. Not an inkling of an idea. I’m a pantser, yes, but this was like ultra pantsing. Walking into a foreign country blindfolded sort of pantsing. So, to answer the question, EVERYTHING surprised me. Every. Single. Thing. Plot, characters, events. All of it. It was one shocking revelation after the next.

Boy, was it fun.

I don't write the story
11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?
I actually have quite a few things going on in this book. Two big ones are that life is a sacred thing and I covered a good bit on how deep God’s love for us is. But in almost all my books there’s a message of hope. I just can’t seem to write a story without hope burrowing into the root of it. But I’m glad it showed up in this book. Most dystopian books are so full of despair and hopelessness. I hate that that’s what this generation gets fed. I believe hope should always be clung to. As long as we have God, what does it matter how dire our circumstances are? This novel holds a lot heavier, darker stuff than my others, but it’s for that very reason I want the light of hope shining between the lines.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how the message came across.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?
That’s a hard question. I think I like a good mix of both. I love, love, LOVE NaNo because it gets me actually writing and finishing a story. When left to my own devices I don’t always get things done. But it’s also a lot more relaxing writing at my own pace. Usually I set goals for myself, because if I don’t have a goal I’ll never get anything done. I’m also OCD, so if I do have a goal I’ll almost always force myself to make it no matter what. All that to say, it’s nice to write as it comes, but I do better under a bit of pressure.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.)
*blows a puff of air* I don’t knoooow. I’ve been thinking and thinking and I can’t come up with anything. I pretty much never read sci-fi, and have only read a teeny bit of dystopian. I just haven’t dabbled in futuristic stuff much. There’s also some light superpower-ish things going on in this novel, which is another thing I haven’t explored much of, save for Marvel movies and it’s nothing like those. And the fact that they’re trapped inside a city is another aspect to consider. Good gracious, I have no idea. I’m going to be evil and flip the question over to you. Have you read/watched anything that sounds like this? I’d love to know!

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!

Wait, no. That’s just in my head.

Usually I spend days on pinterest because I try to avoid it when I’m heavily working on a project. I’m a pinterest-addict. Once I’m on pinterest, it usually takes weeks to drag me off. So I kind of have to force myself away when I have lots of work to do. . . Also I just relish in the fact that I’m DONE. But I do not actually eat any relish because EW.

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
A little hopeful, a little curious, and maybe even just a little sad. But, definitely, with a longing for more. Because, after all, this is only the first of a trilogy. *grins*

To be honest, I’m exceedingly looking forward to January where I can dive right into the workings of rewriting. This is one of my favorite stories, and I really want to make it something worth reading. I’ve missed theses characters, a lot. I cannot wait to spend time with them again!

How about you? Have you done any rewrites? How do you feel about the whole process? (There’s no shame. The very word used to make me shudder. ‘Tis true.) Do you have any projects you’re in the process of editing or will be soon?

Monday, December 8, 2014

More White than Stars Snippets

Since NaNo is finished and I’ve been babbling about my NaNo novel since October, I thought I’d actually share a peek inside this book I’ve rambled on and on over. Hope you enjoy. ^_^

More White than Stars Book Cover


"You're going to have to have a pretty big foot to fill your father's shoes," the other said. He glanced Iavin up and down, eyes gleaming. "You might need some padding in those shoes."

Iavin just waited for the three's laughter to cease. This was nothing new. He had suffered jibes about his unfortunate height, or lack thereof, for the majority of his life. For many of those years he clung to hope that he'd eventually have a growth spurt. I mean, when one had a mother who was an elf, which were naturally very tall people, and a father that surpassed the greater part of Aerigethel's population in height, human though he was, one would expect to eventually gain a few inches. But four years ago when Iavin's eighteenth birthday hit and he still hadn't quite reached five and a half feet, he decided fate took pleasure in mocking him. That was nothing new.


"Are you hungry?" he asked her. He had no doubt she could go probably hunt down every living thing in the woods and have them all skinned and roasted before the hour was up, but there was no point in that. "My mother probably packed me enough food to last for the rest of our dragon rider term." He didn't mention she did that because she didn't think he was capable of hunting down his own.

Sayleth laughed at his comment. She could make no sound, but her mouth opened with a wide grin and her shoulders shook. Iavin liked seeing her face light up like that. He liked even more that he was the one to make it do it.


Iavin glanced around at the others who treated the white-headed boy as if he was the king himself. He obviously had some kind of power over these people. Maybe, hope of hopes, he could help. Iavin knew Sayleth needed care right away.

"Please!" he called to the boy. "My partner is hurt and everyone thinks we're here to cause trouble but all we're doing is looking for Princess Iraila because she was stolen except we can't look for her because we were taken at night but we didn't do anything, I promise."

Nemayn's mental groan resonated through his mind.

That went smoothly.

"Well, that was just plain rude of them, wasn't it?"

Iavin blinked. Definitely not the reaction he was expecting.

The boy turned to the knights and scowled. "That is not how we treat guests in Silhendait."

"But, Your Greatness, they—"

"Nope. I don't want to hear it. These are respected riders of Sivral and shall be treated accordingly. Sir Hegan," he motioned to a rider atop one of the purple dragons, "I want you to take the wounded girl to our greatest physician to be treated immediately. The rest of you clean this mess up while I escort Sir. . .?" He glanced at Iavin with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh, um. Iavin."

"Sir Iavin and the two dragons here to the castle."


"I'm Cael, by the way."

Iavin's thoughts were so heavy he barely caught the boy's words. "You're what?" he murmured, trying to pull himself back to the present.

"Cael. That's my name."

"Oh. Oh!" Focus, Iavin. "I'm Iavin."

Nemayn gently reminded him he already informed Cael of this.



"Fine," Cael huffed. "See if I ever save your lives again."

This was just too much.

"Save our lives?" Iavin shouted. He swerved around to face Cael, every muscle rigid with fury. "All you've done for us is imprison Sayleth, send your pet ice bird to freeze us from the sky, and drive us into these forsaken mountains where we're probably all going to freeze to death anyway. If that is what you call saving our lives then please, by all means, stop doing it."

The strangest sensation washed through his mind. Praise? He glanced at Nemayn watching him, eyes twinkling with amusement. She had never seen her rider stand up for himself like that. She liked it.

Well, I'm angry. And tired.

Really tired. He breathed a heavy sigh and it was as if all his fury blew out, leaving his muscles aching and mind too exhausted to bother being angry anymore. Instead a numbness took over.

"I really was just trying to help, Iavin," Cael said.

"Please just don't." Iavin lifted Nemayn's saddle and shoved past Cael. "Stop pretending to be my friend, because you're not." He heaved the saddle atop his dragon and kept his back to Cael while he strapped it on, but he could hear the boy's sigh.


Iavin hated Cael. He didn't even know it was possible to hate so intensely. Sayleth did not deserve this. Sweet, frail Sayleth, who was crippled by a maniac that wanted to use her energy to control all of Aerigethel. The thought boiled Iavin's blood.

He jumped to his feet and strode right for the single window on the back wall. With his bare hands, he tugged one of the boards put up there to assure they had no means of escape. It didn't even creak.


He stomped over to one of the small chairs, lifted it, and hurled it at the window, or tried. His feeble attempt at tossing it only sent it a couple of feet before it collapsed to the ground with a rattle, nowhere near the window. He kicked the wall in frustration but the moment the tip of his boot hit the hard surface he let out a yelp. He didn't take into account that the wall would be partially frozen.

Bouncing on one foot in attempts to shake out the pain from the other, he caught a flash of Sayleth. And she was laughing.

The heat in his cheeks distracted him from his injured foot. "Sorry," he muttered.

Still laughing, she shook her head and pointed at him.

He frowned, confused.

She gestured to the chair and then him again.

He looked at the collapsed chair and understanding slowly dawned on him. It probably was an amusing sight watching his weak attempt at smashing the room. Not exactly normal behavior for him.

All his fury leaked out of him in chuckles. He stepped over to Sayleth and settled down on the floor in front of her.

"I don't know what came over me," he said, still smiling in amusement over himself.

Eyes twinkling, she waved him off.


There was another gentle knock before the door slowly crept open and a white head of hair poked through the crack.

"You two awake yet?" Cael whispered. "Ah, good." He pushed the door all the way out with his foot and grinned wide. "I brought you breakfast." He knelt and slipped one steaming wooden cup through the bars onto the floor but kept the second in his other hand. "Iavin, you can drink yours on the way," he said, holding the cup up.

Iavin dug his nails into the cot. This was it. Cael was taking him to be tortured. To torment him until he had no choice but to agree to join the dark elves. Stretch his limbs until they broke. Beat him with burning iron rods. Cut out his tongue so he'll be a mute like Sayleth. Whip him with—

"I want to give you a tour of the city." Cael's voice swiped away the thoughts of doom.

Iavin blinked. "You mean. . .you're not taking me to be tortured?"

"Tortured? Why would I do that?"

"Because—" He bit his tongue. Giving Cael ideas was probably not the best plan. "I don’t know."

Cael breathed a laugh. "The things you think of, Iavin. Come on," he lightly shook the cup in his hand, “you're breakfast is getting cold."

Iavin's mind slowly came back to life. "What makes you think I'll go anywhere with you?"

"Don't you want to see the splendor of the forgotten region?"

"Not particularly. It's too cold."

"That's what the drink is for. Trust me, you'll like it."

"No, I meant the company is too cold."



Iavin followed him down the wide hall and examined the drink in his hand. The frothy dark texture didn't look like anything he knew the name of. He gave it a sniff and immediately jerked his head back. The overwhelmingly spicy scent brought tears to his eyes.

"Are you sure this stuff is safe to drink?"

"Of course," Cael said, leading Iavin down a broad set of stairs. "You're going to like it, trust me."

Iavin trusted him as far as he could throw him, and judging by his attempts at throwing the chair the day before, that wasn't very far. But he was thirsty, and since Sayleth didn't seem alarmed by the drinks, they probably weren't meant for harm.

Bracing himself, he inched the rim of the cup up to his lips and took a tiny sip. "Agh!" The cup as well as himself nearly hurled right down the stairway. He jerked to a halt and pounded his fist into his chest, pretty sure his heart combusted into flames. The drink burned all the way down to his stomach. He clawed at his clothes, sweat dampening every inch of him.

"Oh, I probably should have mentioned the first swallow is pretty powerful," Cael said, skipping over the last step to the ground floor.

"Powerful?" Iavin gasped. He stretched his collar away from his flaming throat. "I think I'm dying."

Cael waved him off with a flick of his wrist. "You're fine. The first sip of rioric always feels that way. But afterward it'll provide a pleasant warmth."

Iavin, still trapped in the middle of the stairway, reached the offending stuff far away from his smoldering body. "I'm not drinking this ever again."

Cael shrugged. "If you want to freeze that's none of my concern."

"I'd rather not burst into flames either." The worst of it seemed to have faded but he still took cautious steps down the remaining stairs.


Iavin wasn't sure which was worse. The talons piercing into his shoulders, the frigid wind buffeting him back and forth under the griffin's hold like a puppet, or the fact that two ice dragons were zooming straight for them.

Shouts came from below followed by a whoosh just past Iavin's ear. The griffin lurched to the side away from the second arrow, nearly sending Iavin's breakfast out of his stomach.

"Don't shoot at it!" Cael's voice cried. "You're going to kill Iavin!"

He was pretty much doomed anyway, but Iavin appreciated the gesture.


He shot for the door just a few feet down and threw it open. Sayleth's anxious face met him through the bars on the other side. She gestured wildly to her left at Daeomin, obviously sensing his pain and desperate to reach him.

Iavin fumbled with the lock, tugged at the bars, slammed his shoulder into the whole thing, but all it achieved was a forming bruise.

Nemayn stepped up, gently pushed her rider away, and ripped the barred door right off its hinges with a tug of her claws.

Oh, right.


He could never kill Cael. Whether that was a cowardly or noble decision, he didn't know. He just knew if it came down to it, he could never go through with it.

Which brought him back to the question at hand. What was he supposed to do?

He did have those chains, but not enough to detain Cael and all the dark elves. Maybe he could do a few? Cael and the biggest dark elves? Then swallow the key or something. He glanced down at the thing in his hand and grimaced. It was small, but that still seemed awfully uncomfortable. That'd be embarrassing. After all he went through, his demise would be choking on a tiny silver key. Really, it sounded exactly like the way he'd go.


"Who knows," Leiden went on, "we may all be legends. Youngest dragon riders in history to save all of Aerigethel!"

Darven snorted and gave his partner a playful punch in the arm. "Or the loudest."

More White than Stars Signature


I hope everyone’s first week of December has been a blessed one! <3

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My NaNo 2014 Adventure

Look at that. It’s December 2nd.




Well, I won’t complain. December is full of all sorts of excitement, it also means NaNoWriMo is officially FINISHED. *blows trumpets and consumes cake* This NaNo was a bit different for me, but quite a good one.

NaNo 2014 Banner

The beginning of the adventure took place in October, the time to delve into NaNo planning. This is when I make a thorough outline of my NaNo novel, polish the character bios, make a cover and other such fun things, catch up on all emails and life stuff, and this year I also had to edit my Rooglewood Press contest entry. My plate was full in October, to say the least. Then we decided to sand and redo our floors and have a mini vacation later in the month. Also our hot water heater and washing machine broke. Yeah, October exploded. Trying to outline my novel during all that took some. . .doing. It didn’t help that More White than Stars was probably the hardest one to outline yet. I was at a loss with this book.

More White than Stars Book CoverYou see, each book of the series follows a different pair of dragon riders (and that’s probably the 754th time or so I’ve mentioned that *cough*). Every book sort of does a reset, starting back from the beginning and following the adventures of the five pairs of riders. The last two books will be the finales, starting where I left all the other books and telling the story of all the characters. And since there’s five pairs of riders and More White than Stars was the fifth book that meant. . .this was the last book about an individual pair of riders and the next one will begin the finale. o.O

When I started this series back in 2010 the idea of finishing the individual books felt like an eternity away. Good gravy, time goes by fast!

Since this was the final book before starting up on the big ol’ finale I wanted to make it special, bigger than the others. But HOW? That was the question. Outlining started out slow. I had no idea where to take this book, hardly an inkling of an idea. I had the first few chapters outlined, which I was kind of excited about because I decided to revisit some old characters since they will be reappearing in the next book, but still I didn’t know where to take this story. I was scared it was going to be boring.

Cue Cael.Cael

My villainous white haired, blue eyed boy appeared out of absolutely nowhere and from then on the story soared. I had high hopes after that. (Because I was soaring which meant I was high up and. . . Ahem, never mind.)

All my desires to make this story bigger than the rest expounded far greater than I ever imagined. Just when I thought I finally knew the full plot of my main villain, Cael twisted it and turned it into something much, much more. The cliché world I had feared I created flipped over. The simplicity of this storyline I thought of so long ago became so much deeper. All because a white haired boy decided he wanted me to tell his story.

Outlining still proved to be a bit difficult as I attempted to untangle all the new intricate plots into the old. But by the end of it I had a story I could not wait to begin writing.

I finally got that chance when midnight hit on the night of October 31st. The second I wrote that first sentence I fell completely in love with my main character Iavin.

If Iavin had a list of the things he wanted to be doing at that very moment,
standing in the midst of the crowded ball room of laughing,
dancing, far too loud people would be at the bottom of the list.

From there things went pretty smoothly. There were definitely times where I didn’t want to be writing and had to force myself to stay seated and pump out those words, but those days were fairly few. What really helped this year was my newish taste for coffee. I now completely and totally understand why authors live off the stuff. For my whole life it’s been something I just couldn’t swallow. The bitter taste made me shudder. But sometime this year my mom and brother decided to start drinking it and I tentatively joined them. At first it was pretty awful, but with each cup I developed more and more a taste for it until eventually I actually. . .liked it. Miracle of miracles! Thus, this NaNo I was able to join thousands of others in over-coffee-consumption and I honestly don’t know how I survived my previous NaNos without it. It kept me alert and awake on those days I really just wanted to crawl under the covers and sleep the day away. Because, ya know, not much sleeping goes on during NaNo. I hardly went to bed before midnight once during it all. *cough, cough*

Christine's Coffee

Maybe it was because of that reason I kept accidentally writing in present tense. Um, what? I’ve never written anything in present tense, ever. And yet constantly throughout the month I kept finding myself writing in present tense for some weird reason and had to go fix it into past. It might be because I had my outline set out in present tense, and I was also rereading The Hunger Games trilogy throughout the month, which is written in present tense. Add that to mad writing, too much coffee, and not enough sleep and I guess my brain got confuzzled.

But overall most of the month was spent grinning at all of Iavin’s adorkable awkwardness, wanting to reach through the screen and hug Sayleth, and cackling at anything and everything that came out of Cael’s mouth.

"Your dragons? No. I like those two.
Even if they are a bit fiery." He grinned at his own joke.

Because this was the last book before the finale, I wanted to sort of lead up to the finale. This included bringing in all sorts of character from previous books, including probably my favorite pair of riders, Darven and Leiden, whose adventures I wrote about last NaNo. Having “my boys” return included much squealing and grinning and maybe a bit of jumping up and down. They didn’t appear until the endish, but boy was I happy when they did!

Those last few chapters were definitely a total blast to write. It gave me a taste of what the next book will be like when I finally get to continue the story and return to all the characters instead of resetting it. I was a happy writer and so immersed in the story I had a bit of a shock when it. . .ended.

See, last year was the first NaNo I ever finished my novel during NaNo. They’re always so terribly long I have to continue writing through December to finish it up. Last year I finished on the 25th and thought surely that was just a happenstance and wouldn’t occur again. But on November 22nd I was typing along and fwoosh THE END. What? There’s still a week of NaNo left! I’m done??

That wasn’t the only shocking part though. Each NaNo I set my goal for 100k instead of 50k because, as mentioned, my novels are LONG. I want to get them finished as soon as possible so I set that goal in hopes of at least finishing by Christmas. Every book of the series thus far has been over 100k words. I had estimated this one to be around 120k.

92,340 words and More White than Stars was done.

But. . .what? That’s under 100k words!

I teeny tiny OCD part of me considered writing in something else just to reach that 100k since I’ve done a double NaNo every other year. But then the more reasonable part of me that doesn’t come out as often as it should smacked some sense into my head. The final week of NaNo was going to be insane. I knew that, I knew that from the beginning and wondered how I ever was going to squeeze in writing time. Now I didn’t have to. Why oh why would I make myself write when I didn’t have to? I was done! I should be done. Once in a blue moon I listen to common sense. So I resisted and just enjoyed the fact that I finally wrote an (almost) reasonable sized book and was done with NaNo early. And it was a good thing too because, yeah, the last week of NaNo was quite the busy one. This was the first year I wasn’t writing something for NaNo to the very last day. It was a weird feeling, but kind of nice too. I think I needed that breather.

NaNo 2014 Stats Page

If I were to describe this NaNo in one word I’d probably say: Interesting. But in a good way. Cael kept me on my toes, I learned all sorts of things about this series and really delved deeper into the plot, Iavin was his adorable self, writing Sayleth as a mute proved to be a really fun challenge, I finished waaay earlier than I thought I would—yep, NaNo 2014 was a success!

I’m already looking forward to next year! This was a special year because, as mentioned (multiple times now, whoopsy), this was the last individual book before I can finally continue all those stories I stopped at the end of the other books, this one included. Next year I’ll be revisiting each of my dragon riders and delving into that finale I never thought I’d actually reach. Since there’s so much plot and tons of characters, the finale is planned to run through two books. But who knows? Maybe I’ll squeeze it into one and only have one more book left of the series. But. . .probably not. I’ve mentioned I write long things, right?

But it might not be a good idea to already be thinking about next year’s NaNo when this year’s has only just closed. *grins*

NaNo 2014 Winner Banner

NaNo 2014, you were pretty great. Thanks for the adventure!

Now I’m taking a break from writing for the duration of December and enjoying the holidays. We’ll see what comes of January.

What about YOU? How was your NaNo? Any writing plans for December?

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