Monday, August 27, 2018

The Language of Worlds Linkup + My New WIP!

A new thing has entered the blogosphere and I AM ALL THE EXCITED. The precious, brilliant Liv. K. Fisher has recently started a new linkup, and it’s all about CHARACTERS. Only my favorite topic ever.

With the ever beloved Beautiful People linkup closed (*sniff, sniff*), Liv arose like a superhero and started a new one much in the same vein, in which she asks ten questions for us to answer about any one of our characters we choose. But this one is bimonthly and is tailored for Christian Speculative Fiction. But of course anyone is welcome to join.

It actually started in May, but I fail at life and didn’t get to it in time before the linkup closed. But I’m joining in on this second one, and hope to do them all because I am so addicted to character-centered posts. (Plus they’re just so helpful digging deeper into one’s character.)

ANYWAYS. For more info you can check out Liv’s first post about it HERE. Annnd if you want to join in on the July-August linkup (except August is almost over wuuuut????) the post for it is HERE.

So. I have some news…

I may have started a new story.

Yeppp. Even though I have 298324 other projects I could/should be working on. But I’ve been editing all yeeeear, guys. I need something new and fresh to work on for a bit. And Realm Makers filled me up on inspiration so much, I couldn’t help it. I miss having a project to work on just for fun with no pressure (it’s been a while), so a couple of weeks ago I spontaneously started a new novel that’s been in my head for many months now. Annnnd it’s a retelling. NO SURPRISE THERE. *grins*


Kings Bleed Gold

Can you guess what it’s a retelling of? Shockingly, it’s not a fairytale.

It’s King Midas!

So yeah, I’ve had this idea, since last October I believe, of a story about a bratty teenage King Midas getting kidnapped by dragons (because what dragon wouldn’t want a slave who can turn anything into gold, amiright? It just makes sense). And then I put Midas through lots of torture and terrible things to knock that bratty-ness out of him ‘cause I’m such a nice author to my characters. This is gonna be one of those major character arc things (and as we learned last week, I’m obsessed with those) and YEAH. IT’S FUN. There’s also wild fairies and possibly a plague of some kind and an underground city sorta kinda and the world is loosely based off Greek stuff and just a ton of strange, fantasy thiiings. I AM EXCITED. (I also have a Pinterest Board and I loooove the aesthetic of this story. ALL THE GOLD.)

I’ve like done…no real plotting or anything. I mean, technically I’ve been mentally plotting for like 10 months now, so I have a ton of ideas, just nothing linear and organized. Eheh. Again, right now I’m just kind of writing this casually for fun and doing whatever I like with it. But that’s a topic for another day. And eventually maybe I’ll share more abut this project. But I’ve already babbled so much and we haven’t even got to the point of this post yet!

So, without further rambling ado, meet Midas…



1.) Where does your character live, and how does that impact them?

Midas lives in his kingdom of Chrysafel in the castle which is…gold. ‘Cause he made it that way. Chrysafel is now the richest kingdom across the entire continent of Ellador (the fantasy land this is set in), because, ya know, they’ve got a prince (he’s not quite king at the beginning of the book) who can turn anything into gold with a single touch. It didn’t take long for their riches to skyrocket.

Midas loves his kingdom. In fact, he values it over most everything. And the people seemingly worship him with his ability. Not a great help to ebbing his ego. He lives a very cushy life for the most part.


2.) If they could book a vacation to anywhere in the/their world, where would they go and why?

Again, Midas loves his kingdom. It’s his favorite place to be. Though he does have to visit the fairies frequently for reeeeasons, and he enjoys their wild, enchanted wood. And their wild, enchanted selves.

He’s heard there are other fairies living much farther to the west of Ellador that aren’t nearly as friendly as the ones he deals with. His reckless, adventurous spirit somewhat desires to see these darker fairies and their home purely out of curiosity.


3.) On a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high), how ambitious are they?

Like…9. Lol. Probably almost 10, honestly. It is his goals to make his kingdom bigger and grander and more resplendent than any kingdom that ever has or ever will exist. To the point that he’s “politely” kicking his parents off the throne so he can get started. He’s convinced himself that the kingdom needs him as the ruler and his parents deserve retirement and comfortable, carefree lives. Buuuut deep down I think the power is getting to his head. Being able to turn anything into gold can do that to a person.

But yeah, ambition is one of Midas’ greatest strengths. …And weaknesses.


4.) What do they want to achieve long-term?

*points to above answer* Making Chrysafel the richest, most powerful kingdom to ever stand. Or he thinks that’s what he wants. Making himself the richest, most powerful king is probably the root of his goal, he just denies it to even himself.


5.) Who inspires them?

Mmm… Not many people beyond himself at the beginning of the story. LOL. Later he meets people who inspire him to be a better person, but spoilers, sweetie. :)))


6.) How would they handle seclusion?

Terribly. Midas is a social creature and feeds off people and attention. He’s charismatic and loves to make jokes and be the life of the party. He’d go mad in seclusion.

He’d also be left with his thoughts in seclusion, and he spends so much energy convincing himself he’s doing right and rationalizing all his actions, he couldn’t handle being forced to really think about things for long. It would take him to a dark place he refuses to visit.


7.) Are they a cat person, or a dog person?

Midas thinks almost all animals are great. I want to say maybe sliiightly closer to a cat person, but he’d still be all for having a big, loyal dog. He particularly loves horses though.

He does love his gold ability, but he also really misses being able to feel things with his skin. He has to wear special clothes and gloves and things, and hasn’t felt anything beyond the material of those clothes and the hard surface of gold and water (because his ability doesn’t affect liquid) for years and years. Trying to pet a cat or dog with his ability would…erm…not end well. He’d have to use his gloves, and he really misses touching things for reals.


8.) What's their favorite type of weather?

He loves clear, summer, starry nights. It’s his favorite time to go take a stroll. But bright, sunny days is also great so he can see the splendor of his kingdom. The boy… *shakes head*


9.) When they're hungry, does it show? How?

Midas often gets too distracted to eat. He doesn’t put a ton of value in food, mainly because he’s had an abundance of it his whole life and has never had to go hungry. But also because eating is a bit of a tedious task. Nothing turns to gold when it touches the inside of his mouth, but if his lips touch things, it does turn to gold. So he has to be extremely careful, and it gets tiring.


10.) What's one Bible verse your character would identify with?

Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days.”
James 5:1-3

Oookay, he can’t exactly identify with that right now. But he will… *evil grin*

As you can see, I’ve got some work to do on the boy.

That was so much fun! Huge thanks to Liv for creating us a new, amazing character linkup. I’ve missed doing this! Don’t forget to check out HER BLOG for all the info on this new linkup!



What’da think? Midas is the worst, right? LOL. (Seriously, it’s gonna be interesting having a very-not-heroic protagonist… But I’m excited.) Have you joined in on this linkup? Because you shooould!

Monday, August 20, 2018

How to Write a Character Arc

Today we’re talking CHARACTERS ARCS. Fiiinally. You guys knew this post was coming. I’ve been teasing it for ages. And I believe it was J.L. Guyer who specifically asked if I’d do a post on character arcs sometime. I am so sorry it’s taking me this long! But we’re here now and I’m excited.

If you’re not super familiar with what character arcs are, basically: It’s the inner journey and growth your character goes on. We all grow and change in some form or fashion through life, and characters especially do since we’re usually sending them off to fight monsters and save the world and all that fun stuff (we’re so nice to our babies). That’ll definitely change a person! Think the scared, wimpy farm boy who becomes a hero, marries the gorgeous blonde princess, and probably becomes a king. He went from a terrified boy to a man who faces enemies and finds the courage to ask the gorgeous blonde princess out. He found his strength and courage. That’s a character arc.

It’s no secret that I am a total character arc addict. But why does this appeal to me so much? And why is it important for us to incorporate them in our stories? Let’s take a quick look at why before jumping in on how to write them.



  • Seeing someone transform into a true hero (or a villain bwahaha) is just so exciting and satisfying.
  • It really makes you feel like you’ve been on a journey with the character and know them at a deep level.
  • No one goes on a world-saving adventure and returns home completely the same person. That’d be extremely unrealistic.
  • It adds depth to your character.
  • People read stories for people. And we want to see these people we love change and grow and become their own.
  • They’re kind of the centerpiece of any plot, so there’s that.
  • But also they’re super FUN!

And that just scratches the surface. To me, even if you have a mind-blowing plot, out-of-this-world world (lololol), and jaw-dropping prose, if there’s no character growth, what’s the point in the story? We read for entertainment, yes. But I also firmly believe we read to find truths. To seek ourselves in between the pages of books, finding characters who struggle with the same things we do and find hope and encouragement within them. Because if they can conquer the lies they believe, we can too.

A good character arc can live an impactful impression on your reader for years to come.

Basically, they’re pretty important. And you may be thinking now, “Sheesh, no pressure, right???” Actually NO. Because character arcs can be the most fun thing you’ll put in your story. Don’t setout to write the novel that will change the world. That’ll suck all the fun out of writing (and just give you a serious headache and a whole lotta disappointment). Instead, setout to write a good story, and it’ll change the world on its own. And how do you write a good story? CHARACTER ARCS. (I mean, there’s a lot of ways, but I definitely think character arcs are up there as one of the key elements to a good story.)

But now that we’ve established the importance of character arcs, how in this world or any other do we actually incorporate them in our stories??? That’s exactly what we’re about to look at!



STEP #1: Find Your Character’s Lie

You’ve probably all heard about the Lie Your Character Believes. Basically, this is the driving force of your character. This is the basis of your character arc. If you can find that lie, you’ll know exactly which direction to take the arc. And pretty much everyone has a lie that drives them…in a negative way.

Let’s look at our farm boy. We’re calling him Pete. The lie Pete believes is that he’s a useless farm boy and not good for anything. And so this holds him back, day after day. He can’t talk to the pretty girl, is in denial when Mentor pops out of nowhere and tells Pete he’s actually the king and soon-to-be hero of the kingdom, and doesn’t dare touch Legendary Sword because he’ll probably accidentally cut his leg off with it or something. He’s useless after all.

Now remember, there’s always a reason why a character believes a lie. Maybe Pete has had the village people make fun of his puny size his whole life. Maybe every time he tries to use a farm tool, it goes horribly wrong. Whatever it is, something in his life festered into this lie.

All right. We’ve nailed down Pete’s lie: He thinks he’s useless. Which means his character arc will be him learning he is, in fact, not useless.


STEP#2: The Inciting Incident

Our first step into creating a hero out of a farm boy is his Inciting Incident—that tragic thing at the beginning of the story that pushes our hero into action. Perhaps the villain comes and burns down his farm and kills Pete’s father in the process. Maybe Mentor dies a terrible death. Maybe the girl Pete’s got a crush on is kidnapped by the villain. (Yes, we’re totally running with clichés for the sake of clear examples. Just…er…maybe come up with something more original for your own stories. *grins*)

Okay, so tragedy has befallen poor Pete and now he has no choice but to go on his journey. Step one of the arc has taken place. But Pete is still a nervous, young boy who can’t possibly believe he can save anybody. From here on out, we have to take a step here and there to build Pete up. And by that I mean totally tear him down until he taps into that hero we know is in there. Because torturing our characters is what we authors do best.


STEP#3: The Gradual Journey

We’re past the beginning, have pinned down Pete’s Lie, and pushed him into action. Now it’s time to take him on the long, grueling journey that will (hopefully) slowly but surely beat down his Lie. But what are some events that can help with this?

We have two options in which direction to take this arc:

  • Bringing out the skills Pete already has
  • Letting him conquer new ones.

For example, maybe Pete meets an expert swordsman and throughout his journey Pete learns swordplay, thus building his confidence and proving to Pete he’s not so useless after all. OR maybe Pete never does learn to wield Legendary Sword, and instead defeats a bad guy with a rock and slingshot. Because Pete has spent nearly his whole life scaring crows away from the farm with his slingshot. He just never realized it was a useful skill. Both these options builds up Pete’s confidence and shows him he is capable of something. Which means he’s slowly but surely rising above that lie of being useless. Either option is fine. I personally looooove when a character uses a seemingly mundane skill they have to conquer their tasks. But there’s nothing wrong with allowing your character to learn new things as well (or discover they have magic/superpowers, ‘cause that happens a lot too). You can even do both. Or, better yet, use them each together. Maybe Pete learns he’s pretty good at using a bow because his hand-to-eye coordination is developed from using a slingshot.

But we’re getting off track. This is about Pete’s inner journey after all, not actual physical activities. It just takes something on the surface, like the death of a loved one and then learning swordplay, to push the character forward and force them into conquering that lie they believe.

But remember: Character arcs take time. People usually don’t just suddenly change who they are in a day. It’s a gradual road. Nothing irks me more than when a bad guy gets reformed in like 0.2 seconds, after literally hating everybody and wanting to burn the world down moments before. Incidents have to take place to push him into his change.

Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender is the best example of this. Through the course of the show, Zuko went from the villain, to an antihero, to a hero. But it was a looong road.

You have to remember, every action and thought-process your character has is for a reason. You know the saying: Every villain is a hero in his own mind. Cliché yes, but true. Zuko, for example, was just trying to win his father’s favor back, help his nation, and be allowed to return home. He thought the best thing he could do was hunt down and kill the Avatar in order to accomplish this. But after seeing the destruction his father and corrupt sister were causing the world, and having his Uncle Iroh, the one person who truly cared about him, show him a better path, Zuko did eventually reform. But it was a long journey, with many mistakes along the way, to fully open up Zuko’s eyes to the right path. (Okay, but really, if you want examples of good character arcs and storytelling, WATCH THE LAST AIRBENDER. It’s such a fantastic show.)

To sum this step up: Every character journey is going to have its ups and downs. Some things will build the character up. Some things will tear them down. And some things will push them forward. It’s all a learning process. But if you always remember your Character’s Lie, it’ll help you stay focused on that central arc and help you know which events need to take place.


STEP#4: The Dark Moment

Pretty much every good story has this moment, often called the Dark Night of the Soul for your character. This happens about a third of the way in the book. We’re nearing the climax, which we know because everything possible has gone wrong. It looks like the villain is going to win. Pete has been beaten down. The girl he loves is kidnapped, Mentor is dead, his home was burned in a fire, his sword trainer is also dead, the villain is on his way to becoming evil overlord of the kingdom. And here Pete is. A useless farm boy. He’s tried time and time again to prove his use, to be that hero everyone expects him to be. But he just can’t. He’s failed.

Because here’s the thing. Usually, for us to grow, we have to make it the very bottom before we can climb up again. It is there, at the lowest point, that Pete remembers everything he learns, and remembers everything that can be lost if he doesn’t stand back up. Maybe the ghost of Mentor appears and reminds him of what he’s accomplished and what he can do (since this is [Insert Cliché Fantasy Title Here]). Maybe just the thought of Blonde Princess caught in the villain’s clutches is enough for Pete to take action. Maybe he sees a building burning by the villain’s minions and runs in and saves the family caught inside, snapping him out of his funk and making him realize he can help people. He can be brave. Whatever it is, Pete musters up the courage to end this all, no matter what.


STEP #5: The Moment of Truth

We’ve established our character’s lie. We’ve given the inciting incident to push them on their inner and/or physical journey, and they’ve been forced out of their comfort zone and taught some hard lessons a couple of times. They’ve reached their lowest moment but had an incident and reflection time that made them rise above it.

Now we’ve reached the climax and it’s time for the character to either fall back to who they were before or incorporate everything they’ve learned on this journey, face their fears, and rise to that person they are meant to be.

Back to Pete, who’s standing atop the roof of the villain’s ridiculously tall tower, facing the villain down.  Except…the villain is big, like really big. He’s got a sword nearly as long as Pete in one hand, and a big ol’ spiky flail in the other. And he’s laughing. Like a lot. Because this is the boy who they sent to defeat him? He’s just a puny farm boy! Mwahahaha! How pathetic.

Pete stands there, knees knocking, fearing the villain is right. He is just a farm boy after all. He never even learned how to properly hold up a sword. What was he doing? But then he thinks on his journey and remembers what he’s accomplished. He remembers that climb up the mountain and surviving an avalanche. He remembers that horde of goblins he managed to trick into falling off a cliff and thus saving a whole village. He remembers that family he saved from a burning building. He remembers Blonde Princess telling him she believed in him. And now he knows, he is more than a farm boy. He’s PETE. He has done so much already. He isn’t useless. And he embraces this, embraces himself wholly. And thus pulls out his slingshot, and does what Pete’s do. He aims and lets a rock fly. It knocks the villain squarely between the eyes, making him stumble back, and fall right off his absurdly tall fortress. *victory music commences*

Pete finally faced the truth: that he is not useless. That he can be far more than a wimpy farm boy. And the kingdom is saved! But how was it saved? Not from Pete being “strong” in a physical sense. But from Pete going through a character arc and defeating that Lie.

If there had been no character arc for Pete, there would have been no story. I mean, I guess we would have gotten a really sad ending that involved Pete dying from a spiky flail bashing into his head. Not exactly the ending we wanted, I don’t think.

But the point is, character arcs are extremely important, and are what keeps your story and your character moving forward. And your readers engaged. Personally, I don’t want to read about a macho warrior who can easily bust into the villain’s tower and stab him in a breeze. That’d be…boring. I want someone I can relate to. Someone who can prove to me that I can conquer my own lies. Someone who struggles just like we do, and may fall time and time again, but eventually pulls themselves back up and keeps fighting, no matter how hard it is. That’s a character who will keep your readers enraptured from page one to the end.


Before I end this, let’s look at some other types of arcs and what to do with them.



“Character Arc” does not only refer to those ascending arcs. There’s also descending arcs. Such as a good person falling to the dark side. Bum bum bummmm. These are funnnnn. *cackles*

These honestly follow along with the same steps, just in a much more negative way. That lie they believe? Maybe it’s TRUE. Maybe throughout their journey, instead of getting positive reinforcement that pushes back the lie, they only discover time and time again that they are what they fear, and it eats away at them until they spiral into villainy. Or maybe they embrace a lie fully, instead of fighting it, which puts them on a descending path.

Let’s look at Morgana from BBC’s Merlin. At the start of the show, Morgana is kind and compassionate and lives a good, happy life. But then one day she wakes up to realize she has magic. Problem is? Her guardian, King Uther, hates magic with an unhealthy passion, and immediately executes any who practice it. Morgana knows, despite being Uther’s ward, that he’d choose his fear and hatred of magic over her. And so she has to hide it, but it gets harder and harder. And as she sees Uther constantly executing people with magic like her, bitterness sets in. It only gets worse as time goes on. The straw that breaks the camel back is when she discovers a terrible secret Uther had been keeping from her for her entire life. Then she has someone come into her life who hates Uther, and continues to poison Morgana’s mind toward him. Until, eventually, Morgana wants him dead. The lie she believes is that her only way to happiness is to kill the king. This festers and festers until it’s her entire life goal. And now we have a good person-turned-villain.

An important thing to remember when writing these descending arcs: Our conscious can absolutely be destroyed. The more bad we do, the more we rationalize that it’s okay. Morgana let her desire to kill Uther grow so deeply, she went from someone who cried at the sight of death, to a person killing people right and left to accomplish her goal. And she was able to do that because her wicked acts and own selfish desires silenced her conscious over time. Not to mention, she thought she was trying to do Camelot a service by killing the man who hated magic. Again, every villain thinks they’re a hero in their own mind.



What if you don’t want your story to hold some major, life-changing event? Or maybe you have a minor character who will go through a much simpler arc than the protagonist? That’s perfectly fine. Not every arc turns a farm boy into a hero king after all. But the same steps still apply in one form or fashion. Perhaps your story is not a big epic fantasy but instead a  contemporary romance novella, and you have no intentions of completely transforming your heroine. Then you’d still find that Big Lie she believes and help her through it, even if it’s as simple as helping her find the courage to talk to Cute Boy.



This kind of goes along with the previous one. Because you may be thinking you don’t want an arc. You love your character and you don’t want them to change. They wouldn’t be your beloved character if they did after all! This is where the balancing act comes into play.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, character arcs are kind of the centerpiece of your story. If your character is not growing and learning in some way, it’s not only unrealistic, but rather tiring. Because every big event in our life changes us in some way or another, and most books cover The Big Event of our protagonist's life. They’re absolutely going to change in some way if it’s realistic. BUT. That does not, not, nooot mean you have to transform them into a new person. Occasionally this happens like in the case of Morgana. But, honestly? Her transformation was almost over the top. Because we still are who we are. We grow and change and learn and fall and get up again throughout our entire lives, yes. But we’re still us.

Pete may have finally found his bravery to defeat the villain, but he did it his way with a slingshot. And even though he won Blonde Princess’s hand, I doubt the shy, farm boy is always perfectly eloquent and dapper around her. He’s a little braver, yes, and now knows he’s not entirely useless. But that awkward farm boy is still in there. We wouldn’t want to beat that out of him completely, because it’s him and it’s endearing. I have actually seen arcs that totally took away the character I formerly knew and loved and it was annoying.

Of course, aspects of a person can be conquered fully. When I was little I was paaaainfully shy. Now I barely have a shy bone in my body. But it took effort and practice on my part to get here (as we’ve learned, reformation should not be instant). But just because I’m no longer shy doesn’t mean I’m an entirely different person.

The point of arcs is to make a better (or worse) version of the character. That’s it. It’s to find that lie they believe and help them conquer it. Or to show the effects trauma and big events has on a person. There needs to be some form of change in your character by the end of the novel. But it by no means has to be a ginormous transformation. We want to see the characters we love become better people. But we love them for who they are, and so creating an arc that changes them wholly and completely is both unrealistic and unwise. Zuko went from villain to hero, but he still stayed that grumpy, quiet, sarcastic person we all fell for.

Whew! That was…a lot. And, honestly, I could have said so much more! This post went 3 different directions before I finally settled on what it is. But character arcs are just SO IMPORTANT, guys! They really are the basis for every story. Nailing the art of character arcs is truly the key to creating amazing stories.

With that said, if any of this was confusing or you want me to talk more extensively about one particular aspect of arcs, don’t hesitate to ask! I am by noooo means an expert and certainly do not have all the answers! But I consume a looooot of books, TV shows, and movies, and I’d more than happy to share any thoughts I’ve gleaned from studying them.



I hope that was coherent and helpful. Do you have any more questions on character arcs? Do you agree with my steps on forming an arc? And what are your thoughts and tips and tricks on the subject? I’m always, always excited to learn more!

Monday, August 13, 2018

{Mini Book Reviews} The Janus Elixir and The Hound of Duville

We’re doing something a little different and fun today. Instead of my usual book review layout, today I’m doing a couple of mini reviews! Since…well, the two books I’m reviewing are in fact novellas, and if I ramble about them too much we’d be veering into spoilers. So mini reviews it is!

But what am I reviewing today. Wellll, you guys know the 1920s-esque fairytale detective Beaumont and Beasley books I love and adore? The author, Kyle Robert Shultz, is currently creating a set of novellas that will basically be compiled into book #4 in the series and called The Strange Cases of Beaumont and Beasley, which means eventually they’ll all be put into one volume. But right now, the first two are released and available individually. Which is what I shall be fangirling talking about today! And do not be fooled by the size of these stories. Because wow wow wow! Did they pack a whole lotta awesome (and feels) into a few words.




Archaeologists are not often consulted by gods. However, Malcolm Blackfire is not a typical archaeologist—he’s also a dragon. So, when the brain of the god Janus is stolen from Thanatos Abbey in the city of Talesend, Malcolm and his assistant Melody Nightingale are summoned by Hades himself to investigate. It doesn’t take long for a dark design to emerge behind the bizarre theft. The mysterious Dr. Henry Jekyll is performing dangerous experiments. A powerful sorcerer named Hyde has suddenly emerged in the Talesend underworld. The answer to the mystery is clear…or is it? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are not what they seem. But by the time Malcolm discovers the truth about them, it may be far too late.

The first of six novellas comprising the fourth book in the acclaimed Beaumont and Beasley series.


As stated, The Janus Elixir is the first of this set of novellas, but it actually takes place before any of the other stories. Though I believe some events in it will later tie into other stories. BUT ANYWAYS.

This story is about MALCOLM. In all his grumpy, dragon-y glory. ‘Cause yeah, HE’S A DRAGON. And a SHAPESHIFTING DRAGON. He can be in human form or dragon form at will. You really can’t get any cooler (hotter? lololol dragon puns) than that. We’ve met Malcolm a few times in previous stories, but this time he’s the protagonist and just SDKJFLJKSD YES. I LOVE Malcolm. We also get to see more of his associate, the mysterious Melody Nightingale, which I was thrilled about!

Every book in this series is a retelling or continuation of some some sort of fairytale or myth. This one is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with some fun Greek mythology thrown in, and I seriously don’t see how you can ever go wrong with that.


- MALCOLM. Oh wait, I’ve already mentioned that. But I’m saying it again. Because MALCOLM. It was so fun being in his head with this one. Though he most often is in his human form, he does not let others forget he is, in fact, a dragon. He does so love to threaten people and remind everyone he is much older and wiser and more dangerous then any of us puny humans. What’s not to love about a dude who threatens to eat everyone who crosses him? Really now. Also, he’s an archaeologists. And a dragon. Best combination ever? I think so.

- Melody Nightingale! I’ve been so wanting more of her ever since we met her in The Stroke of Eleven. And I finally got my wish! I adored how she’d put Malcolm in his place, while also being concerned for his wellbeing despite the fact that he’s an ancient dragon. I think she brought out the more human side of him, which I loved. Except there are certain thiiiings about her and just I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. Ahem.

- BANTER. This would not be a true Beaumont and Beasley story without it! This may be the most quotable of the stories yet. I just want to quote everything that comes out of Malcolm’s mouth. I was choking on laughter all the way through.

- Plot twiiiists. Did this one have ‘em. O___O And that’s all I’m gonna say. But just…wow.

- Hilarious twists on some Greek mythology, soort of in the vein of Percy Jackson. But you’re going to have to read it to find out what kind of twists!

- A certain character who shall not be named but whom I realized was possibly supposed to be a Certain Someone and skdjflsjldjfljsdf. Wow. That was vague. XD You’re welcome. Let’s just say I had to set the book down to compose myself when it hit me WHO THIS PERSON IS. True story.

- Feels. Feels everywhere! I did not expect this many feels from this one novella. NOT AT ALL. But just…HOLD MY BLEEDING HEART BECAUSE WHAT IS HAPPENING???

- THE. ENDING. Um. Wut. WHAAAAAAT????? This kinda goes into the feels section. Just WHAT EVEN. I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. AND FEELINGS. AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF. I just kind of sat there in shocked silence for several minutes once I got to the ending. IT WAS SO UNEXPECTED. Just…yeah. Get ready!

Basically you need to read it. Annnnd this one is FREE for all of Kyle’s newsletter subscribers! If you’ve been wanting to try his stories, but don’t want to dive into the full stories, this one is a great place to start. Because, though it may tie into some things later, it still stands on its own and has no spoilers for any of the previous books. So get ye over to Kyle's Website and subscribe to his newsletter!



The return of the brothers Beasley! “I’m sorry, Miss Blenkinsop, but I’m afraid this dog is your fiancé.” Wealthy man-about-town Gregory Duville has fallen victim to a baffling (and embarrassing) curse, and Beaumont and Beasley are on the case. Except...they’re not. Because Lady Cordelia Beaumont has gone missing, leaving only detective-turned-monster Nick Beasley and his brother Crispin to tackle the mystery. To make matters worse, the curse afflicting Mr. Duville is targeting all other men in the city of Talesend as well. An ancient witch may hold the key to stopping the spell in its tracks, but is she everything she seems? Can Nick solve this case without the aid of Cordelia’s magic? Or will the secrets he’s keeping from Crispin doom Talesend forever?

The second of six novellas comprising the fourth book in the acclaimed Beaumont and Beasley series.


THIS. STORY. This one is now up there as one of my top favorite Beaumont and Beasley stories!

In The Hound of Duville we’ve returned to Nick and Crispin (after all the events in the last book, The Stroke of Eleven) and just YESSSS. I’ve missed these brothers so, so much. It’s been a while! But now they are back doing their detective thing and I LOVED IT.

This one harked back to the first book, with Nick and Crispin working together again, solving a mystery in Talesend. The whole thing made me feel so nostalgic and happy. The first book may be my favorite of any of them, and I loved how this one really brought us back to the early days before well…everything. Eheheh. *distant sobbing* It was an utter delight from page one to the end!


- Nick and Crispin working together and being all brotherly and banter-y and my adorable, precious Beasley boys whom I’ve missed so very much. <3 Nick is basically like the tired, no nonsense old cat and Crispin the overactive puppy and their relationship gives me life.

- An utterly hilarious curse spreading all across Talesend (basically the London of this universe), that, yes, involves dogs. Naturally.

- A lighthearted tone (with a touch of feels). Though I adore books that rip my heart out because I’m one of those psychotic fangirls, it’s also nice to just have some purely comedic reads. This one is mostly that! It’s pretty much fully a fun romp of an adventure from start to finish. Which I think is perfect after all we suffered through in A Stroke of Eleven. I’m totally loving the sliiightly darker, more serious, high-stakes plot this series has been taking. BUT, at the same time, it was good to have a bit of a breather before all of that continues.  But no fears, this one still had some feelsy things in it because…well, yeah. For those of you who’ve read The Stroke of Eleven you should know. Eheheheh…heh… *sobs*

- REFERENCES. Oooh, the references. There were a couple of fun references from well-known and loved movies in this one. In fact, one entire section was a total blatant reference to one of my favorite movies and oh. my. word. I was cracking up SO HARD. It was good I read this one in my room alone, because if I had been reading it in public I would have gotten looks as I sat there grinning and cackling madly to myself. And just having to stop reading altogether a couple of times to compose myself. IT WAS A RIOT. I loved every second of it!

- A sentient house/office/thing. And yes, it is as cool as that sounds.

- A fun retelling aspect. As I’ve said, every book retells some kind of story or another. And…I’m not sure if I should have known from the start which one this one was retelling or not??? It may have been my own blondeness not grasping it at first, but when I did realize OH MY GRACIOUS. I was delighted. It was perfect. Let’s just say these books do not retell stories in orthodox ways. I love it. XD

- Another feelsy ending. I totally lied when I said this was an utter delight from page on to the end. THE ENDING WAS NEITHER LIGHTHEARTED NOR FUNNY. Because I guess the ending of The Janus Elixir wasn’t gut-wrenching enough. We have to have two heartrending endings. THANKS, KYLE. I need the rest of these novellas nooooow!!!

Other than the ending (which isn’t reeeally a con, because there did need to be some consequential continuation (wow, say that 5 times fast) things going and I appreciated that aspect), this was truly a riot of a read. I read it just a few days ago and already want to reread it! But do take note that this one is very heavily tied into the previous books, which means you’re absolutely gonna want to read the first 3 Beaumont and Beasley stories before this one. Ya know, unless you want to be really confused and have spoilers everywhere. Juuust sayin’.

Overall, these stories were an utterly spectacular start to the six that will comprise Beaumont and Beasley #4. Now excuse me while I twiddle my thumbs and wait for the next story because questions and feeeeels!



Well, neither of those reviews were as mini as I meant them to be. Ooops. This is me. We should have known. Have you read either of these stories? Because I really need to flail with people! And do you enjoy more humorous, lighthearted reads or do you want all the feels? (I’ll take both, pleaseandthankyou.) Also, don’t forget you can get The Janus Elixir for free by subscribing to Kyle’s newsletter. *nudge, nudge*

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of both these stories by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

{Cover Reveal} Finding the Magic by Jack Lewis Baillot

What is thissss? Two posts in one week? WHY YES. But don’t worry, this one will be brief. (Especially since Monday’s post probably broke the internet it was so massive. *cough*)

BUT I HAVE THRILLING NEWS. Not to mention something gorgeous to show you guys. *grins*

My friend and fellow blogger is getting a story published very soon here. *SQUEALS* Oh. And guess what? IT’S A BEAUTY AND THE BEAST RETELLING. *more squealing* Obviously I’m excited.

Jack Lewis Baillot is the author of Brothers-in-Arms, a World War II novel that ripped my heart out, stomped on it, burned it into ashes, and threw the ashes into the ocean. OBVIOUSLY I LOVED IT. (I reviewed it a looong while back if you’re curious.) So naturally I am beyond ecstatic for this new story of hers. Which I actually read yeeears ago, back in its early, smol days. AND IT WAS SO GOOD. So, so good. I cannot wait to have it in print and finalized.

Oh wait. You’re actually here for something other than my ramblings aren’t you? Okay, okay!

As the title of this post suggests, WE HAVE A COVER. And it is beautimous. And yes, you can see it now.





Ha. Like you expected me to show it to you right away.




Keep scrolling…




Because what’s a cover reveal without the dramatic scrolling?




Okay, now I’m just being mean.




Fifteen-year-old Belle is sent to the countryside to escape the London bombings of WWII. She knows she will miss her mother and worry about her father, who is away fighting in the war, but has no idea what awaits her in the manor in which she is to live. She finds friends in the staff but the mysterious and elusive master of the house frightens her. Can she teach him to find the magic in a world where magic seems to be long gone?


is an author, which is why she spends much of her time writing and little of her time editing. She likes to follow characters around and tell their stories even if they don't tell her everything they know about their stories.

She lives alone in a Hobbit hole and spends her spare time with her nose stuck in a book. When she isn't doing that she is busy baking bread and annoying her neighbors with bagpipes.

Find her on her Blog!

YES. It is in fact a WWII Beauty and the Beast retelling with an entirely different take on the story we know and love. And come on, guys, dat cover. *drools* I cannot waaaait to have a copy of this on my shelves! Do keep your eyes peeled for this one.



Is that cover not utterly drool-worthy? What do you think of a WWII Beauty and the Beast story? So fun, right?! Are you excited for this one??? (The answer is: YES.)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Realm Makers 2018 Recap

I HAVE RETURNED!!! Not only have I returned, but I’ve come back with a gazillion Realm Makers stories to share with you guys. AND I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT IT!

Realm Makers, guys… Wow. How do I even describe it? Before I went, I had heard some people say it’s unlike any writers conference out there. The people aren’t there to step on each other and rise to the top. And they’re not there to be ultra professional and stuffy either. No, Realm Makers is one big family of Jesus lovers with a mutual interest in all things geeky. And let me tell you, that statement was beyond true. RM was fun and quirky and full of the nicest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met in my life. When I left, my heart was full. And it still is.

I have so many thoughts. SO MANY. This wasn’t just a place where I went to learn some good writing tips (though I got pleeenty of that as well). This was an experience that changed me from the inside out. Fears and doubts and worries I’ve had for nearly a decade (no joke) were all shoved away in this single weekend. That’s how powerful it was for me. BUT. I’m not going to talk about that today, though I do hope to share these thoughts with you guys sometime once I’ve processed them all. I have so much on my heart and mind!

But today we’re just gonna have fun and I’m going to give you a play-by-play of the event with looooots of pictures. YE HAVE BEEN WARNED. Pretty much every single one of you asked for a detailed recap post of Realm Makers when I got home, SO YOU’RE GETTING IT. If this gets long, I’m blaming you guys. ‘Cause it’s not like I everrr make monstrous posts. Nooo. *cough*

Okay, but seriously, this is going to be extra long, with all sorts of info you guys may not care a lick about. But I wanted to log my adventures and remember all the special little moments, not just the big highlights. So this ginormous post is just as much for me as you. Do feel free to skim!


ALL RIGHT. Let’s get to this!





My dad and I headed off Wednesday and drove all day, got a hotel that night, then finished our drive to St. Louis Thursday. (My dad came with me due to me having some health problems and not needing to drive states away by myself, plus it was just safer that way. I was happy to have him with me! Also major thanks to him for often carrying my ridiculously heavy bag places, doing so much driving, always keeping ice and such handy in our hotel room, willingly taking pictures all those maaaany times I shoved my phone in his hand, and just in general assisting me with so much. I don’t think I could have managed without him!)

Around 1:30 Thursday, we arrived at the hotel where Realm Makers was being held and cue my heart flipping and squeals of excitement because I was THERE. My dream was coming true, and after prepping and planning since January (half. a. year.), IT WAS HAPPENING. And ooooh my word, was the hotel gorgeous. The outside looked like it had appeared right from a fairytale.


My goofy self in utter ecstasy that we had arriiiiived!

Just look at this hotel! <333

It was fitting because this year’s Realm Makers theme was dark fairytales. Which was also fitting, because I was going to be pitching a dark fairytale retelling, and I found it super fun that the theme for my first ever Realm Makers was my favorite genre ever!

After checking in and unloading our stuff in the hotel room, we went off to the Realm Makers registration table where, lo and behold, one of my very dearest buds in the whole wide world and brain twin, Celti herself, happened to be standing. Naturally much screaming and hugs took place.

At registration you’re given your badge (which was a lifesaver because often you’ll recognize someone’s face from somewhere on the internet but not know their name, or vise versa, so having everyone with a big name tag around their neck helped so, so much), and then you put stickers on them for how many years you’ve attended Realm Makers and what genre of speculative fiction you write (great conversation starters when meeting someone new!). My badge had stickers all over because I’ve dabbled in a bunch of genres. Eheh.


My badge.

Once I was all registered, the fun began! The conference didn’t “officially” start until 4, so I had some time to mingle. Celti led me down to the Realm Makers bookstore, which was a big room full of vending tables and such, and basically every book there was on my TBR, and the room was full of fellow writers. Basically the writer’s dream. The bookstore area is kinda like the hub for Realm Makers—the place you go to wander and chat with people when you’re not busy in classes or whatever. (So you’ll see me refer to it a lot in this post.) It was such a fun, cozy, happy place.

Anyways, the first book I purchased was The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder herself, and I got to chatting with her (she is a gem!) and she asked if I’d be pitching at the conference. I said I was and was really nervous, and then and there she prayed for me. It was at that moment that I realized I was in a special place. Because from that moment on, I didn’t meet a single unkind person, out of the 300+ who were there! It still blows my mind.

It wasn’t long before I started seeing people I recognized, and pretty soon I was in the extroverted writer’s heaven as I was surrounded by all my writing peeps. Celti was the only online writing buddy I had met in person before (and that was just once a few years ago). So being with her and so, so, sooo many others IN PERSON felt surreal. Honest to goodness, that first couple of hours didn’t feel real. I kept thinking I was going to wake up from a dream because there I was, with people I had only ever gotten to speak to through a computer screen. And every single one of them was the genuine, precious person I knew online. It was so weird, but so amazing, because there were no awkward “first” meetings. You always wonder if you meet your online friend in person will they be the same? Will it feel awkward and different? It WASN’T. Not at all. We were all screaming and hugging and talking 90 miles a minute. It was the best thing ever. And what was even more fun was instantly becoming BFFs with people I barely even knew.


With some of my peeps. From left to right: Jaye, Ashley, Kendra, Katie, Deborah (a.k.a Celti), and me.
(When I get overly excited my smile turns into this evil-looking grin. Idon’tevenknow.)

It’s the craziest (but BEST) feeling walking into a room and suddenly seeing someone and thinking, oh yeah, I think I follow her on twitter. Or, I’ve seen that person’s profile pic in the comments of so-and-so’s blog. Or, THERE’S THAT AUTHOR I LOVE. (I did so much fangirling, guys.) Etc., etc. OR having people come up to me and saying they read my blog and enjoy it. (GUUUUYS. You made my heart explode with happiness. I love you all so much!) Some of my very closest writing friends were there, but there was also people I only vaguely knew, or people I had never come across before. But it didn’t matter. We were all there because we love writing and speculative fiction and shared all the same interests, and it really was one big family. Those first couple of hours of meeting my beloved people in person and instantly making new friends may have been my favorite part of the conference. But I don’t know, IT WAS ALL SO GOOD.

Anyways, after meeting and greeting and gathering up “my “people”, we still had a little bit before the conference officially opened, and someone mentioned getting coffee. Well, when you even whisper the C word in a room full of writers, it’s like throwing a bag full of candy at toddlers. We all perked up. Someone said there was a Starbucks nearby, so off a bunch of us went.

This was my first time getting to explore the area outside the hotel. Let me tell you, this was such a fantastic place to hold the conference. Not only is the hotel big and full of rooms for gathering and classes and things, but it’s connected to this big plaza area in St. Louis filled with quant restaurants, peaceful places to sit outside, a water fountain, and just broad, beautiful areas to stroll around in. There’s no need to drive anywhere once you’re at the hotel, because everything you need is within walking distant at the plaza.


Here’s a quick glimpse of part of the plaza area.


At Starbucks with so many amazing ladies.

We had to leave Starbucks pretty quick to hurry back for the conference opening. They started out showing a slideshow from last year’s RM with the song A Million Dreams from The Greatest Showman playing and it thrummed something deep and good inside me. As I sat there I was thinking I’m here. This is happening. And just AWK. I can’t even explain it.


Sittin’ with meh Celti for the opening. <3

The ever amazing Mary Weber was Realm Makers’s keynote speaker this year and WOW WOW WOW. Are her words powerful! She got me choked up just with her opening speech. In fact, so much of what Mary spoke about throughout the entire conference was life changing for me. But, again, deeper stuff for another post!



After the opening keynote, a bunch of us went to a delicious taco place on the plaza for supper. Then it was back to the hotel for a little orientation for those of us first year “Realmies”.


Eating tacos with Deborah, Tracey, Mary, Audrey, and Hann!

After orientation, there was an Agents/Editors Q&A panel, which was full of great info. And it helped to see who all agents and editors were there and what they looked like (especially since I’d be pitching to a couple of them in the next two days o.o). Then, right afterwards, there was a fun Flash Fiction Critique Session hosted by Splickety. Before Realm Makers, people could send in a 300-word flash fiction piece, and ten were going to be chosen to be read at the session and critiqued by professionals. I didn’t enter a piece myself, but some of my friends did and both Celti’s and Savannah Grace’s pieces were chosen as one of the ten to be read. Needless to say, we were all internally screeching. So, so proud of them both!

With that done, the first day of elation ended. Some of us chatted for a bit, and I ran into Kyle Robert Shultz (ya know, the guy who writes the Beaumont and Beasley books which I squeal about practically daily???) and got to talk with him for a bit. Except I never did get an individual pic with him  or Jenelle Schmidt or Ashley Townsend. UGH. I’m so mad at myself. But I guess it’s the meeting and hanging out with them that matters more than pics.

None of us chatted for too long though because we were all preeetty exhausted from traveling and such, and so we split ways to our hotel rooms and conked out. But the fun was just beginning!



The day things were about to really get underway!

After mingling in the bookstore where they served a light breakfast, the day opened up with some announcements, then it was off to classes!


Sitting with my dearest Tracey, Mary, and Savannah while we waited for welcome/announcements to start.

My first class was a continuing session entitled “Faith-Infused and Faith-Fueled Fiction” by author Sharon Hinck. I sat at a table with three other girls I didn’t know and they were all so nice. Sharon Hinck had us do some writing exercises and things with our table, and we all chatted so well and encouraged one another. Again I say, every. single. person. at this conference (at least everyone I encountered!) was as friendly and uplifting as could be. And SHARON HINCK. I’ve sadly never read her books (though I’ve always wanted to!), but I adored her. She made the classroom feel so cozy and fun. Her love for life and Jesus was contagious. And her messages of not writing for your motives, not filling your book with your agendas, but just being open to God and letting Him do with your story what He will spoke so deeply to me. The main theme of the class was that we should be motivated to share our fiction for no other motive than this one: Love. Such a powerful thought! The class ran for two hours, and I felt so encouraged and inspired by the end of it. I could feel God’s presence there, and it was beautiful.

Right after that class, I went to the “How to Pitch Your Novel Without Sounding Like a Robot” class by Nadine Brandes. Yes, that Nadine Brandes!!! I needed this class since I was gonna be pitching my book later that day FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. And it. was. so. helpful. Nadine laid it out so simply, and then gave us five minutes to write out an elevator pitch. I literally wrote a better elevator pitch in those five minutes than the one I had spent weeks on at home. NO JOKE. That’s Nadine’s magic for ya.

After the class, Tracey and I decided to go talk to Nadine. This was my first time talking to Nadine IN PERSON. And she signed A Time to Die for me and she’s every bit as precious and delightful as she is online and just adlkjflsdjflkjsd. NADINE!!! Before Realm Makers, I had never had the chance to actually be with famous authors in person before. So yeah, I was a taaaad excited.


With the adorable Nadine herself!!!

After the pitching class, it was lunch, and a good many of us went to a fantastic pizza place and had a lovely time! It was also fun wandering around and hearing tidbits of conversations about writing wherever we went. It seemed all of Realm Makers had taken over the plaza, and I loved it. I loved being in an environment packed with writers. I don’t have any writing friends in my town, and am not used to talking about writing with other writers outside of the internet. Having basically half of my writing online community there in person was seriously a dream. And as an extrovert, I was exploding with happiness.




With the crew. From left to right: Audrey, Savannah, Deborah, Jenelle, Mary, Kendra, Kyle, Tracey, Madeline, and me.

Some of us also briefly explored the top of a clock tower area (you can see the steps to it behind us on the above pic), which was a blast! And took lots of pics with each other.


View from the top.




Madeline! I’m so, so glad I got this pic with her, because I didn’t
get many others with her and me and it makes me SAD.








“The Three Fairies.” Deb, Tracey, and I were named that a long while
back by a friend, and it was truly magical all actually being together.

After our exploration adventures, it was back to the hotel for more classes. My next one was “Everything You Need to Know About YA” by Nadine Brandes and Mary Weber. And um YES. A young adult fiction class by Nadine and Mary themselves??? I was so excited about this one. Nadine and Mary were so fun, and the whole class was full of such wonderful information. I was scribbling out notes like a storm.


In class with mah gals Mary, Tracey, and Savannah.
We all decided we want to be Nadine and Mary when we “grow up”.


The Queens Nadine and Mary themselves!

After that, it was part 2 of Sharon Hinck’s continuing session, but I had to leave pretty early to get to pitching appointments. Which made me SAD, because I was loving this class. But it was off to the scary stuff!

My first appointment was actually a 10-page critique session I had ordered with a Tyndale editor. I had sent in the first 10 pages of Burning Thorns to her before Realm Makers, and so for the appointment we sat for 30 minutes discussing it. The appointment went really well and I felt very encouraged afterwards because she didn’t see all that much that needed improving. And this is a TYNDALE EDITOR so I was just like WUT. I was expecting her to find a gadrillion things that should be changed. But other than a few problem areas in on the first two pages, and some tiny word changes she suggested, there was nothing major she thought I needed to change. This was my first time ever to talk to a true professional about any of my writing, so I was very, very happy!

A little bit after that, I had my first pitching appointment. O___O I make a mess of explaining my stories to my own family. So pitching to a professional???? CUE THE SHRIEKING. I…honestly don’t know how it went. I personally felt like a blabbering moron and it was such a blur I barely remember everything I said. Eheh. Buuuut I don’t think it was really that bad. In the end, the person said they have a Beauty and the Beast story coming out with their publishing company already, so they couldn’t take on another one. Which I totally understood. I then asked what they thought of my story in general, was it publishable or should I try with something else? They said it looked like I had some cool concepts and should definitely keep shopping around. So yeah, I guess I didn’t completely fail. And I was very encouraged by that! Because that was a huge reason I wanted to go to Realm Makers. I had no grand delusions that I’d leave with a book contract. I mean…no. BUT, I did want to know if I’m wasting my time pursuing publishing with Burning Thorns or not, ‘cause I’ve got plenty of other stories I could try with. It was a relief to know the book market is still looking for Beauty and the Beast stories, and mine isn’t totally cliché or anything. So I call my first pitch a success I suppose. The person didn’t say my story stank anyway, so I’ll take it! XD

With that done, I took a deep breath (for now, I had one more pitch the next morning eheheheh) and got to relax a bit. I was feeling extra tired at this point, which made me sad, because this extrovert hates having to go rest when there’s people to talk to. But my body was shutting down between the few hours of sleep and lots of walking it had been through. So I forced myself to go to the hotel room, make some coffee, and reenergize a bit. Then it was time to get dressed for the…AWARDS BANQUET.

The awards banquet is kinda the crown jewel of Realm Makers. Not only is it a big, fun dinner everyone gets to go to buuuut…it’s a costume dinner! As in, us weird speculative fiction writers get to truly let our creative weirdness out and cosplay as whatever/whoever we want. I had been working on putting together my costume for a good two full months prior to Realm Makers, and was beyond ecstatic to finally get to wear it. And see everyone’s else creations.

I went dressed as…


And yes, that is me in my room days before Realm Makers, and it was nighttime so excuse the gross, grainy lighting. But I apparently didn’t get any shots of just myself at the banquet so… Eheh.

Okay, so my obsession with Alice in Wonderland is…probably unhealthy. I LOVE IT. Always have. (If you look closely, you can see an entire Alice in Wonderland setup at the top of my bookshelf behind me. The obsession is strooong.) And Alice has always, always, always been one of my top most favorite female fictional characters in the world. I also relate to her spacey, curious personality a lot. Plus we’re both blondes! I’ve wanted to dress up as her forEVER, but never really had the opportunity. The second I realized I was going to Realm Makers, I knew I wanted to do an Alice cosplay. Buuut her outfit is pretty simplistic and I felt like going as something more elaborate. Well, I adore steampunk, so why not Steampunk Alice??? It was so much fun to put together!

Everyone’s costumes were spectacular! There was actually a ton of steampunk outfits, and I loved it. (You’re about to get bombarded with pics, I make no apologies.)


That’s Lindsay Franklin as a steampunk Cheshire and S.D. Grimm as a steampunk
Queen of Hearts, guys! It was ecstatic to find other steampunk Wonderland characters.
And actual, real life, awesome authors at that. Talk about awesome.


With meh fairies. Is Tracey’s Cinder from Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles
costume not the coolest thing ever??? And Deborah is the most gorgeous Princess
Kamarie from Jenelle Schmidt’s The Minstrel’s Song series.


MARY AS MARY POPPINS. This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in. my. life.
I squealed so hard when I saw her. Plus “Mary” as Mary. It’s so perfect!

My precious Savannah in her gorgeous princess-y outfit
and gorgeous hair and just…GORGEOUS.

E. Kaiser MADE this TARDIS dress, guys. Just… O___O So. Much. Talent.
(Also TARDIS dresssssss. *fangirls*)

Kara Swanson herself! And yes, she is a Peter Pan flapper. Is that not the most
brilliant thing ever? Also, I love Peter Pan as much as Alice in Wonderland
soooo yeah. I LOVED IT.


Jaye L. Knight blew us all away with her elaborate Assassin’s Creed costume.


This guy was such a fantastic Captain America. And Jeneca came
as Buckyyyyyy! So of course we had to get them in a pic together.


Nadine Brandes as Trelawney from Harry Potter. (Except I’ve only
read the first two HP books so far and haven’t seen the movies, so
I’ve yet to “meet” Trelawney. BUT I WILL.)

Mary Weber was a fellow steampunk cosplayer! Made me so excited.

It’s Eleven form Stranger Things!!!

LOOK. AT. THIS. MAD. HATTER. This girl won best costume,
and with good reason. I MEAN LOOK AT IT. Also I was so excited
a Wonderland character won! Wonderland representation. Woot, woot!

Audrey, me, Tracey, and Mary.
Audrey’s outfit was SO COOL. It just makes you want to go adventuring with her.


Ooookay, I need to stop. There were just so many amazing costumes, guys!

The whole banquet was such a fun night. After wandering around the bookstore looking at everyone’s costumes and taking pics, I went to the main eating area. At first I couldn’t find a table with anyone I really knew, then I spotted Tracey, Mary, and Savannah with one free seat at their table, so happily settled in, only to look across the table to find Steve Laube sitting next to Tracey. Ya know, big-time literary agent Steve Laube? Yeah! There were also a couple of people who worked for Enclave Publishing at the table. I was not expecting this! But I was delightfully surprised. You seriously never know who you’re going to end up with at a writers conference.

After dinner, so many of us lingered and chatted and took pics, and just had a lovely night all around. It was definitely a huge highlight of the weekend.

We’ll just not talk about how I didn’t get to bed until 1 in the morning and had to get up at 6. Eheheh.



The last-ish day of Realm Makers. *SOBS* But what a day it was!

It honestly didn’t start out great. Bryan Davis (my favorite author EVERRR) was popping in for breakfast that morning, but he came real early and I wasn’t feeling great that morning and didn’t get down in time to see him. I think I missed him within minutes too. So I was pretty bummed. But I needed some sleep since I had a pitching appointment later that morning. I was also really nervous about my pitch, so between missing Bryan Davis and feeling a little ill, I was pretty meh.

BUT, if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that God’s presence is the strongest through hard times. When I was finally dressed and headed out of the hotel room, I made a quick stop to grab coffee they had in the lobby and ran into a fellow Realmie and got to chatting with him. He happened to ask if I had any pitching appointments and I told him I did that very morning and he up and decided to pray for me. (I’m telling you, the Realm Makers people are the best people out there.) That was really encouraging. Then I wandered down to the bookstore and found myself talking with Jamie Foley herself, the author of the Sentinel Trilogy, which you guys have probably all seen my flail about on here before. I LOVE THOSE BOOKS SO MUCH. And oh my gracious goodness, Jamie is one of the most amazing, encouraging, genuine ladies I have ever met in my life. Talking with her just filled me up.


THE Jamie Foley!

Those things helped brighten my mood a lot, and then, after morning announcements, I headed off to the third session of Sharon Hinck’s class. And, to my shock, she opened up by giving a personal testimony about her life and own health problems and what the Lord has done through them. I needed that, because the conference was really taking a toll on me physically and I was feeling bummed about it. Sharon Hinck’s speech spoke to my soul.

I had to leave her class early though to go to my appointment. I gave myself 30 minutes though to gather myself together, look over my pitching notes, and pray. I will still feeling ill, not to mention nervous, and was so scared I was going to make a mess of it. But I should have known God would be with me, as He had been that entire morning. Because the second I sat down for my appointment, the nerves flitted away, and I enjoyed myself. Like a lot. It was a wonderful appointment and we talked about fairytales and all sorts of lovely things, and I was told again that I had a very interesting concept for a story. And it ended with me being told I was welcome to send in a query and proposal so they can look at it all more thoroughly. GOD IS GOOD, GUYS. This probably won’t come of anything. But, again, it was so reassuring to know this story of mine may be publishable one day. Not only that, that whole morning proved to me how deeply our Lord cares for us and is with us through the trials. Yes, I missed seeing Bryan Davis. Yes, I was feeling kind of sick. But God carried me through it.

Needless to say, after the appointment I was floating on air. That was my last appointment for the conference, it went pretty well, and I could just enjoy the rest of the weekend. I also got to feeling a good bit better after that. Everything was fine!

And the rest of the day was utterly spectacular.

After my pitching appointment I just kind of chilled and talked with people and breathed a sigh of relief that I had no more appointments. Lol. (Now I know. Next time I’m scheduling any and all appointments early on the first day and getting them over with. And doing them before I’ve gone multiple days with very little sleep.) My next class was a part 2 of Nadine Brandes and Mary Weber’s “Everything You Need to Know About YA”. And again, I learned SO MUCH. This was possibly the most useful class for me of the whole conference. They mainly discussed the importance of marketing and tips and tricks, which is something I’ve been stressing about very recently here. That class came at the best time.

Afterwards, I decided to approach Mary and Nadine and get them to sign some books. Mary signed my copies of The Evaporation of Sofi Snow and Reclaiming Shilo Snow which I was so ecstatic about. I read both of those right before Realm Makers and LOVED them. It was thrilling getting her to sign them and chatting with her a bit. Her heart for people just inspires me.


Mary Weber! And yes, she was wearing a My Little Pony
sweatshirt, which I had to squee over. She’s the best.

I then got Nadine to sign my copy of Fawkes, which I had recently picked up in the Realm Makers bookstore. I WAS SO EXCITED.

Afterwards, I went to find my peeps for lunch and sat out with them in a big nice area in the plaza eating more food from the taco shop. The weather was windy and absolutely perfect that day. As someone who lives in the ridiculously humid south, I was soaking up the drier, cooler weather of Missouri.


Such a nice place to chill and eat.

There wasn’t much going on for a little while after lunch, which was nice. I got to chat with people, hangout in the bookstore, and purchase more books I wanted. I had been buying one or two books basically every time I was in the bookstore, attempting to pace myself. Eheh. I just wanted SO MUCH. But there was going to be a big book signing that evening, so I knew I needed to go ahead and get everything else I wanted.

That afternoon there was one more class-ish thing—some different panels. I went to one titled “Mental and Physical Health for Writers”. I obviously needed that one. Haha. And it was really encouraging seeing that I’m not alone struggling with physical health, and got some good tips how to balance it with writing. And then after the panel, I ended up talking with Celti and Jamie Foley, and we discussed some health problems we have, and by the end of it we were nearly in tears. We had such a meaningful talk. To this day, whenever I think of it, my heart swells.

The closing keynote was about to start, so we three headed to that. And Mary Weber did it again. This time her closing speech really moved me to tears. Like sniffling, tears down my cheeks, barely able to hold it together tears. She later said she had a different speech planned, but wasn’t feeling it and wrote this one mere hours before giving it. Which blew my mind because it sounded as if she had been working on it for weeks. It spoke directly to me on such a deep level. I needed that speech. So, so much.

With that, it was dinner time. Since it would be our last meal together (*SNIFF, SNIFF*) a bunch of us were trying to gather everyone we could. Then, next thing we knew, Mary Weber was there and asked if we all wanted to go grab something to eat. Um…YES!!!

This was one of the (if not THE) best moments of Realm Makers. It was hilarious, because as a huge group of us followed Mary through the hotel to the plaza, we kept gathering people, until we had like half of Realm Makers. We decided to go to the taco shop (why yes, I ate there 3 times in one weekend and I don’t even care), and all took our food outside. And Mary Weber and Nadine Brandes was there and so many more, and we had the most amazing time sitting out eating tacos in the lovely weather and discussing the epic weekend we’ve had. I’m grinning just thinking about it.

Half of Realm Makers trekking off to get tacos. I feel
like we scared the workers at the taco restaurant. XD

Getting tacos with Nadine Brandes!

In line with Audrey, Katie, Mary, and Tracey. My people. <3
(But again with the creepy evil grin, Christine. Whyyy?)


Sitting on a set of steps outside the taco shop chatting with Mary Weber.
That’s the top of my head on the far right. Lol.

After the amazing taco adventure, we all headed back to the hotel and to gather books out of our rooms. Because it was now time for a big book signing! Although I didn’t have an enormous stack to bring, because I had been strategically asking people here and there throughout the whole weekend to sign my books, juuust in case I didn’t manage to get them at the book signing. And so I wouldn’t have to carry an arm-breaking load of books to the signing. *grins* I’m so glad I did it that way too. Because Mary Weber’s line went on for THREE HOURS. o___O She’s just so nice and sat there and talked to each and every person for like ten minutes. I got to skip her line though since I had gotten her to sign my books earlier that day. Bwahaha. (I mean…I hope it was okay to get people to sign my books before the official book signing. I think a lot of people were doing that, and none of the authors ever seemed to mind, so I think it’s a good strategy.) I did scoot over to Nadine’s line though to get her to sign my last two Out of Time trilogy books even though I had already approached her twice to sign books. *sheepish grin* But this way I got signatures on all four of her books! IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY. And she seemed delighted by it, so I think it was fine. I liked doing it one at a time throughout the weekend better than coming up to her with an armload of books for her to sign at once. Lol.

Anyways, I got a bunch of other books signed as well. Including my copy of The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson!


With Mr. Batson himself! (And yes, that is an Alice in Wonderland
book tote I have. I HAVE A PROBLEM, OKAY???)

It was so epic talking to him and getting him to sign his debut for me, because I had read and loved that trilogy when I was much younger, and I really admire him.

The whole night was magical talking with authors, getting books signed, hanging out with everyone, buying more books even though I thought I was done doing that. *cough* And celebrating with Audrey who won the free conference registration in the raffle. *SQUEALS* It was amazing!


I came home with 19 books total. Guess I should have gotten one more. XD

Once the book signing wound down, they started getting ready for the famous Realm Makers Nerf war. (I told you guys this is not like a normal writers conference.) It’s a tradition to end RM with a big Nerf War. Unfortunately, I was muuuuch too tired to join in, even though I would have really liked to. But I got to watch a bit which was fun.


Nothing like a bunch of writing nerds shooting each other with Nerf guns.

After watching for a few minutes, Mary, Tracey, and I found somewhere quiet in the lobby to chill and talk for a bit before Tracey had to go to bed since she had a super early flight home the next morning. There may have been many tears shed saying goodbye. But it made me think of the Winnie-the-Pooh quote: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Those words were so, so true for Realm Makers.


With Mary and Tracey for our last night. Tired face but full heart.

I crashed that night, sad the event was basically over, but so beyond happy it happened. Though I wasn’t quite done.



I was so scared I was going to miss saying goodbye to everyone, because I didn’t know when people were headed off, but I went down to the lobby that morning to find it full of my people. We all got to hang out for about an hour before most people headed out. Thus many final pictures were made.


Mary and Savannah! These girls just make me so happy, you have no idea. <3


Kendra is such a delight. XD Hanging out with her was the best.


JAYE L. KNIGHT. I adoooore her Ilyon Chronicles books, so getting
to befriend her and hang out was the dream. She is seriously the sweetest person.

Katie Grace. Only the most precious bean in the whole world. Can I keep her?


Jeneca is such a spectacular girl, and getting to know her at Realm Makers was the best thing.

It was really hard saying so many goodbyes, but goodness did we all have a wonderful time together. I honestly can’t even express how much each friend I met and made at Realm Makers means to me. Those people are the epitome of kindred spirits. I feel so blessed to have them in my life! (If only we didn’t all live so far away. *sobs*)

After hugging everyone and trying to hold it together, I headed off to the last bit of Realm Makers—the post-conference FightWrite workshop with Carla Hoch.

I am so glad I decided to sign up for this workshop. I literally have zero clue how to write fight scenes, and yet I put them in my stories alllll the time????? This class was a ginormous well of information. Carla Hoch was so much fun and demonstrated a ton of fighting techniques. I actually took more notes in this class than any of the others! Not only did I learn a lot of great methods to help me write fight scenes better, I also just got a lot of great tips for self defense in general.


Carla Hoch using poor Ben Wolf as her assistant.

But my favorite part of the class was when we started discussing how to combat atop a dragon. ONLY AT REALM MAKERS, GUYS. And Carla Hoch talked so seriously about it. It was the best. And actually insanely helpful since I have a whole SEVEN BOOK SERIES about dragon riders with like a gazillion fight scenes atop dragons. You just never know what great stuff you’re gonna learn at Realm Makers!

With that, Realm Makers was officially, officially over. But, thankfully, my sweet Mary was still around and she and I and my dad went and had lunch together before saying farewell for reals. We also ran into Olivia, another sweet Realmie, who joined us for lunch.

We then headed back to the hotel for the last goodbyes. Then Dad and I loaded up into the car and headed out.

And thus my first ever Realm Makers ended. But my heart was utterly full, my head brimming with inspiration and motivation and ideas, and my soul nourished. It was so, so much more than a writers conference. It was seriously a life changing event. And though there were a few hiccups and health problems, I honestly keep forgetting about those, because the good was so good, it completely outweighed the bad.

I hope more than anything I get to attend again next year. Which, by the way, will be held in the exact same place and same time!!! Just for any of those who were thinking about going next year. *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge*

Like I keep saying, there’s so much more to the story. So many revelations from God and thoughts and ideas swirling through my head. Once I process it all, I’d love to share it with you. But if you’re even sort of considering going to Realm Makers I have to say: DO IT!!! I promise you won’t regret it.


Goodbye St. Louis. You were a dream come true. <3

But GOOD GRIEF. This may be my longest post ever, which is saying something for me. o.O Maybe I should have split this up into two posts??? Eheh. Sorry about this. If you read this whole thing, you get alllll the cookies because wow, what a monster. Thank you for putting up with my maaaany ramblings and pictures.

I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH AND IT WAS SUCH A DREAM COME TRUE MEETING SO MANY OF YOU AT RM!!! Thank you for being on this crazy writing journey with me. <3



You’ve made it to the end of the Godzilla post! CONGRATS. Now I want to hear from you! Who’s making it to Realm Makers next year??? Have you ever been to any other writing conferences? (This was my first.) And did I bore you to death with my ridiculously long and detailed recap? Because, seriously, this is embarrassingly long. *cough* Okay, but I miss talking with you guys. I feel like I’ve been gone for ages even though it’s only been a couple of weeks. So how are you doing? What’s going on? LET’S CHAT!

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