Book Squirt

Writing Process Blog Hop

I was tagged in the Writing Process Blog Hop (started by Kelley Harvey) by my awesome writer friend Rachel O’Laughlin!

1 – What am I working on?

Currently I’m working on a YA fantasy/romance project. I have ideas for six books in the series, and over 80k words spread out over the six books – about 60k on the first book and 20k of random scenes from the other books. My working title for this project is Grimsai – the grimsai are the dragon fighters in the first book, and the grimsai theme is carried through most of the series.

2 – How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Most dragon books don’t have people fighting dragons, at least, not the way I do it. (At least I think so… I hope so…) And mine have the romance thread. Also, it’s a series, but each book is separate from the others. They have different main characters and a different goal, though main characters from the other books do appear.

The closest thing I can think of is the Narnia books. They’re all complete stories, and most have different main characters, but it’s all in the same world with the same characters popping up in random places and stuff like that.

This example works much better in my head. LOL

3 – Why do I write what I do?

Because the stories won’t leave me alone? Does that count? I was working on another project a few months ago, in March, when the idea for the first Grimsai book hit me in the head. I was trying to ignore it, and next thing I knew, I was making a Pinterest board for it and telling Skye that I WANTED TO DROP EVERYTHING AND WRITE IT.

She told me to wait for Camp Nano, in April. 

I couldn’t even wait that last week of March. Two days before Camp Nano started, I wrote the beginning, just to get it out of my head. And then another 2k somehow managed to sneak its way out of my head before Camp Nano officially started.

Four months later, I now have over 80k on this project, which is amazing for me. Normally I can get to about 12k words on a project before I lose focus and change to a new one. 

I guess that’s why I write what I do – fantasy romance. Because I lose focus on the stories that don’t interest me, and then when I find a world that I LOVE, I can write 80k words like it’s nothing. I love my characters – my kick-butt dragon fighting girls, my princesses and princes, the guards who end up falling in love with the princess, and anyone else that I want to create. I love all of the main characters in these books, and I love the world that I’ve created, and I love my dragons, even if they do make my MC’s life a living hell for a while, and I love how my writing can take me into another world. 

I could go on and on and on but I think the next question is going to have a long answer too so I don’t want to write too much on this one. :)

4 – How does my writing process work?

Okay, so this is difficult. Like I said earlier, most projects I don’t get over 12k words on. Three exceptions:
-Project IAPTK, my first novel EVER. My introduction to writing was a friend convincing me that I should join her for Camp Nano. June 2012 was my first Camp Nano, and I successfully completed my 50k words, finishing the novel at about 57k words a week later.
-Project Estermead. This is the project I was working on before Project Grimsai. I think I was at about 27k on that one when I couldn’t wait to start Project Grimsai, and I want to go back to that one at some point, because I liked that one. LOL
-Project Grimsai. Officially my longest project ever, at over 80k words, I’m becoming quite attached to this baby. LOL

With only three projects ever reaching a decent amount of words, I’m still working out how I write. But when I looked at my projects, I found one thing that was consistant with all of them – from the 80k Project Grimsai to my 7k Project Locket. 

I don’t write from the beginning to the end. I write like I’m making a quilt – first I make all of my patches, then I sew them together. I know what scenes need to be written, and I write the ones I’m excited for, because if I’m not excited for them, the words don’t come easily, I lose momentum, and it ends up joining the pile of under 12k projects.

So I write all of my scenes, and then I connect them, which is the not-so-fun part, but by then I’m invested in the project enough that it happens, and then I rewrite the whole thing so it makes sense. LOL

It may seem weird, but that’s how I write. At least, that’s how my one MS and this WIP went. Are going. Whatever.

I did that with Project Estermead too, but with only 27k worth of quilt pieces, it’s hard to tell if that’s how it was going to end up.

So yeah, that’s my writing process! I’ve never gotten past a finished first draft – I’m hoping to change that with this project. Feel free to poke me until I can tell you that I’m done with it. :)

Here are the three writers that I’m tagging:

Kennedy is just a girl trying to navigate her crazy life. She’s beyond caring and creative and loves to spend time with her friends and family. When she’s not solving other people’s problems, she’s coloring in her dinosaur coloring book and hanging out with small people. Somewhere in there she manages to put story typing robots to shame.

Kennedy blogs at edythane.blogspot.com.

 

Darci writes YA & MG SF/F. She’s a Mormon stay-at-home-mom of two animal children she calls Monkey (4yo) and Ribbit (2yo). A proud Gryffindor, she makes and sells wands at Colevanders.blogspot.com, is a  #WriteClub sprintleader and writes as Thor on YAvengers.com. She lives with her husband and kids in Arizona. 

Darci blogs at darcicole.blogspot.com

 

Krista Newport is a 20-something professional blogger, writer, and poet. In the day she writes blog copy for hot businesses, and in the night she transforms into the scribe with a lust driven quill. Krista likes long walks on the beach, men with accents, red wine, and sensual novels. If she could, she’d use chocolate for currency. Dark chocolate will buy you a whole lot. Milk chocolate? Milk chocolate is the penny of her world.

 Krista blogs at kristanewport.com

My Not So Super Sweet Life by Rachel Harris

My Not So Super Sweet Life releases today, and I’m super excited to share it with you!

Ever since I read My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and A Tale Of Two Centuries, I’ve been waiting for the next book in the series to come out. I was thrilled when I heard it was coming out soon, and when I got the chance to read an ARC, I was even more thrilled.

Cat Crawford just wants to be normal—or at least as normal as a daughter of Hollywood royalty can be. And it looks like fate is granting her wish: she’s got an amazing boyfriend, Lucas; her fabulous cousin, Alessandra, living with her; and her dad planning his second marriage to a great future stepmom. That is, until her prodigal mother reveals on national television that she has something important to tell her daughter…causing a media frenzy.

Lucas Capelli knows his fate is to be with Cat, and he’s worked hard to win her over once and for all. Unfortunately, Lucas has his own issues to deal with, including a scandal that could take him away from the first place he’s truly belonged.

As secrets are revealed, rumors explode, and the world watches, Cat and Lucas discover it’s not fate they have to fight if they want to stay together…this time, it’s their own insecurities.

Well, and the stalkerazzi.

Normally, I like to finish a book and write my review while it’s fresh in my mind. With this book, unfortunately, that wasn’t possibly. I couldn’t form a coherent thought, much less write a coherent review. LOL

Cat: This main character is perfection. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a celebrity’s child, this book is for you. With a mother who uses Cat only when she needs good press, and her father who tries to keep her protected from the press, this book has exactly what you would expect from a celebrity child’s book. But that’s not the only thing you see about Cat – no, you also get to see the side that is super sweet. I love her relationships with Less, Lucas, her Dad, and eventually, her step-mother also.

Lucas: *sigh* Lucas. He’s perfect. And my new book boyfriend, so keep your paws off. ;) I loved how Lucas could go from super sweet, perfect boyfriend mode into super sweet, perfect, and protective boyfriend mode in a matter of seconds. He was there for Cat, and he did everything he could to make sure he’d always be there. Is that spoilerish? I don’t think so. If you think it is, sorry.

Other characters: Don’t get me started. I could go on and on about Less and Austin – I loved them in their own book, and they were great in this book too. Cat’s dad and step-mother were great, and I can’t say anything about her mother without being spoilerish (with ALL THE CAPS) so I probably shouldn’t say anything. :)

Plot: It’s a cute, YA romance – you’d think you’d have it figured out. This book managed to surprise me once or twice, which was rather impressive.

Overall: This was a very enjoyable read – it only took me several hours because I didn’t want to put it down to do anything. I had to stop for dinner with my family and I was groaning inwardly because I wanted to get back to it.

I am eagerly waiting for Rachel Harris’s next YA book!
My Not So Super Sweet Life on Amazon*
My Not So Super Sweet Life on Goodreads

Rachel HarrisRachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Emotion, vibrant settings, and strong families are a staple in each of her Rachel Harrisbooks…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

A Cajun cowgirl now living in Houston, she firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. She homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much Food Network with her amazing husband.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict, she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and losing herself in story. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!.
Rachel’s Website
Rachel on Goodreads
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Rachel on Facebook

*Amazon link is an affiliate link.*

Knights of Rilch by Rachel O’Laughlin, Deleted Scene and Giveaway

When Serengard rebelled and the Orion monarchy fell, former crown princess Kierstaz Orion’s love for her people became a burning desire to set things right. With a price on their heads, Kierstaz and her brother Mikel led a handful of men against the new army, fighting skirmishes all along the border of Dreibourge. But months of heavy bloodshed forced her small band of knights to abandon the border—and all of Serengard—to the rebels.

Nine years and a thousand betrayals later, Kierstaz and Mikel again find themselves on the run—only this time, they’ve a boy in tow: Malcom, the son of two of the Seren rebellion’s strongest leaders. The new regime wants him dead, Mikel wants him alive, and it’s all Kierstaz can do to keep their tracks covered. Desperate to preserve the innocent life she swore to protect and the brother who has always stood by her, Kierstaz must gamble the last thing in the world she owns: her identity. Secrets are a staple of the Orion family, and those Kierstaz keeps are as dangerous as the ones kept from her.

KNIGHTS OF RILCH is the sequel to COLDNESS OF MAREK, and the second book in the SERENGARD Series.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? I know that I may be biased, because I was a beta reader and proof reader for this book, but I absolutely loved it. There would be times when I got so wrapped up in what I was reading, that I’d forget I was supposed to be taking notes on it! So when Rachel asked me if I wanted to post a deleted scene, I jumped at the chance to share a part of the story that I hadn’t read either.

Here’s a little bit about this scene, from Rachel:

This scene was originally in Chapter 16. I wrote it on the second revision to add more detail to the Creeper incident. But the further revisions went, this just didn’t seem to gel, and I found a way to reveal more about the Creeper by waiting until later in the story. In the finished novel, Chapter 16 follows Kierstaz finding the injured Kold, leaving him with Romianz, and her talking with Tofer and Zven, without changing to Mikel’s point of view.

 

******************************************************************************************

Mikel let his breath out slowly and met the eyes of Romianz.

“As I have told you.” The older man’s voice was rough, angry.

Mikel nodded. The candlelight flickered over the table, making the pooling blood look more a shadow than a stain. “Will he live?”

Romianz nodded. “I think so. Unless there is poison involved.” He set to work washing the blood off and examining each cut.

“These are definite teeth marks.” Mikel let his fingers hover over them in awe. “Does he need Drei medicine?”

“He might before the night is out. I would like to keep rumor from spreading, if at all possible. I don’t believe this is a Creeper. It bespeaks of a man.”

“Or a woman.” Mikel always thought of that. Kierstaz was the embodiment of violence in his mind as a youth, yet he’d never been able to understand her. He never understood anyone who thought violence a worthy vocation. “The Drei train all full-grown women among them to be warriors. But I cannot see Dreibourge using this kind of cheap barbarism. They are far more effective, and what could they gain from it?”

Romianz kept his eyes on Kold’s face. “If this was the work of the Drei, they would deal swift and fatal blows to you and I, and your lieutenants. There are no Drei in Ciar. None but Pier, and you say that he is loyal to you.”

“He is.”

Romianz glanced up, an eyebrow raised. “Loyalty may not be what you think it is, Mikel.” He handed him a thin, broken reed. “It’s clean. Check the depth of the bites.”

“If I do not believe my men are loyal, I haven’t much left to believe, have I?” Mikel slid the reed into the wounds, careful not to disturb the clotting that was occurring. Kold had strong blood. He would be fine. “They are deep.” He held the reed up. Very deep.

Romianz ran a hand across his closely shaved beard. “The man who did this was a traitor, both to you and to me. If you’ve any suspicions, now would be the time to share them.”

Mikel felt a churning in his stomach, and not a single face to name. “I haven’t any.”

Romianz snorted. “Well. I’ll have to keep patrolling my own cells in the depth of night. Keep your armor bearer out of there, would you?”

“I’ll try. But if she thinks you are hiding something from her, she—”

“Just keep her out.”

© Copyright 2013 by Rachel O’Laughlin

And not only do I have that deleted scene, (which I thought was pretty cool), I also have the giveaway that Rachel set up for the blog tour!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Knights Of Rilch on Goodreads
Knights Of Rilch on Amazon
Knights Of Rilch on Barnes And Noble
Rachel’s Website
Rachel’s Twitter
Rachel’s Facebook

I highly recommend both Knights Of Rilch and Coldness Of Marek.  Rachel is an amazing author and both books are so much fun to read.

Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories in which heroines tend to get their hands dirty, bad guys sometimes win, and someone always gets kidnapped. Her passion for history morphed into a love for fantasy in her mid-teens, when she took a brief pause from reality for immersion in the arts and a hands-on education in sustainable living. She lives in New England with her husband and two boys, listens to The Fray, and drinks too many lattes. Two novels in her SERENGARD fantasy series have been released, and a third is scheduled for October 2014.

The Star Thief by Jamie Grey

When I read Ultraviolet Catastrophe, I knew that Jamie Grey was a great author and I wanted to read all of her books. Unfortunately, I had to wait.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long before The Star Thief was announced.

She might only be twenty-three, but Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There’s just one problem – all she wants is to get the frak out of the business.

But when Renna rescues an injured boy from the warehouse she’s casing, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement on a garden world. Turns out, the kid was a plant to lead her to MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency.

MYTH needs Renna’s special skills, and they make her an offer she can’t refuse – unless she’d like to spend the rest of her life on a prison ship. To make sure she does her job they shackle her with a MYTH watchdog, the handsome but arrogant Captain Finn.

A former mercenary-turned-galactic-hero, Finn happens to have his own dirty secrets. Secrets that Renna wouldn’t mind uncovering for herself. Together, they discover an experiment to develop illegal cybernetics that will create an unstoppable army. The intended target? The human star fleet.

Now Renna must use her skills as the Star Thief to pull off the biggest job of her career – saving the galaxy. And herself.

 

Doesn’t that sound amazing? I signed up for an ARC as soon as I could, and anxiously waited for the email that would arrive with my shiny .mobi file.

And when the email finally arrived, I was so busy that I didn’t get to it for over three weeks. *sigh*

Then Super Bowl Sunday came along. An hour and a half before the game I sat down to read, and I didn’t stop until five minutes into the third quarter.

The Star Thief was absolutely amazing. Renna is quite an accomplished thief – not only did she steal several things in the book, she also stole my heart. I was so wrapped up in her story that I barely even watched the commercials (which are, as everyone knows, the best part of the Super Bowl).

Renna and Finn’s relationship, though a bit rocky in the beginning, is wonderful. Renna and Myka’s relationship is adorable. And Renna and Viktis’s relationship, if you can call it that, is strange, and I don’t think I like Viktis very much. LOL

Seriously though, Renna and Finn are awesome together. And I’m not going to spoil the (totally cliffhanger) ending, but I will say this: if Renna and Finn don’t *cuts out spoilery bit* in the next book, I might cry.

Relationships aside, the characters were all amazing. All of the main characters had fully fleshed out backgrounds, and so did several of the side characters. I wish we’d gotten to know Finn’s team a bit better – I can’t even remember the names of two of them – but the ones we did know brought a lot to the table.

Have you ever finished a book and realized that you totally missed the fact that there’s a sequel? And worse, there’s a really bad cliffhanger?

Yeah.

So basically, this book rocked my socks off, until I got to the end. Then it made me want to curl up in a ball and sob “why???” to anyone who would listen. I don’t like cliffhangers. *mopes until the next book comes out*

The Star Thief was an amazing book by an amazing author. I highly recommend both this book and her debut, Ultraviolet Catastrophe, and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!

The Star Thief on Amazon*
The Star Thief on Goodreads

Jamie_Grey_HeadshotJamie Grey spent most of her childhood writing stories about princesses who saved the day and pretending to be a daring explorer. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she should combine the two. Now, as a tech-obsessed gamer geek, her novels mix amazing scientific developments, future worlds, and the remarkable characters that live in them.

Jamie lives in Michigan with her significant other and their pets, who luckily tolerate her overspending on tea, books, and video games. You can learn more about her at www.jamiegreybooks.com, or follow her on twitter via @jamie_grey.
Jamie on Goodreads
Jamie on Twitter
Jamie on Facebook

*Amazon link is an affiliate link.*

Merry Christmas!!

I sat down last night and wrote what started out as a Christmas post and morphed into me writing about the accident. Even now, several months later, I’m still thinking about it and apparently I’m not over it yet.

But anyway, I wanted to just say Merry Christmas to all of you! I hope that you have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year. :)

I’m hoping to start blogging again after kidding season, which should end some time in March or April. I’ll use until then to get a couple of extra blog posts written to help me stick to my schedule. :)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Driving and #DadChat

I’m learning to drive right now, and I recently witnessed a fatal accident. Seeing something like that will drastically change the way you look at things, and now I’m even more cautious behind the wheel.

Since I’ve had that experience, I’ve thought a lot about driving and accidents. When Bruce Sallan from #DadChat talked to me about co-hosting a twitter chat with him, I jumped at the chance to share my story and what we learned from this accident.

I hope you can join us at #DadChat on Thursday, November 21st, at 9:00 EST! If you’ve never joined a Twitter Chat before, I found this post explaining how to do it. :)

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

Happy Birthday, Kristen Jett! (Birthday Scavenger Hunt, Stop #2)

Yes, that’s right, I signed up to help celebrate someone’s birthday.

But that’s because it’s someone very special – the fabulous Kristen Jett! It’s her birthday!

Now that I’ve gotten to use that GIF, on to the fun stuff. ;)

My Favorite Things About Kristen:

  • She’s awesome. Really. Awesome.
  • She’ll talk about pretty much anything.
  • She runs an awesome website with her equally awesome friend, Jolene.
  • Did I mention that she’s awesome?
  • She has threatened to send me books more than once.
  • She is great at giving people advice.
  • She’s awesome.

You know, when I was thinking about writing this post while I was getting ready for bed, I had about thirty things I was going to write down. Now I can’t think of them. *sigh*

Oh well. You’re the best, Kristen. Thank you for being my friend!

 And I hope you have a wooooonderful birthday!

(To be honest, I’m not really sure how you’ll top this when Jolene’s birthday rolls around, but I can’t wait to see it! :D)

Now without further ado, here’s your clue to get to the next stop:

She’s one of a kind and quite the great writer,

She’s first to jump in and help us pull an all nighter.

She’s part of the P&M team (and she rocks),

And the amount of scheduling she does knocks your socks off.

While you’re off searching for your next clue, I’ll be over here having a little dance party by myself. Until you get back, and then we can look ridiculous together. *hugs*

A Fatal Accident

I wrote this a couple of days ago, right after my family and I were at the scene of a fatal accident.

A couple of weeks ago, I could have said “I’ve never seen or helped at a fatal car accident.” I can’t say that anymore.

Now I can say that I’ve watched a car surrounded by flames, knowing that there was a man still trapped inside.


Now I can say that I’ve prayed more than ever before, praying that they could get the driver out in time.

The car that burned - source

Now I can say that I’ve sobbed with a girl when she asked and was told the driver of the other car didn’t make it.

Natalie’s car - source

I wish I couldn’t say any of those things.

I wish that they’d been able to get Dennis Godsave out of that car.  I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was. I’m glad my Dad and the other men at the scene were able to get Drew and his Grandma out. The police (and therefore the news) didn’t know this, because they weren’t there yet, but they had to cut Drew out of his seatbelt. If someone hadn’t had a pocket knife, they wouldn’t have been able to get him out.

I wish I hadn’t seen and heard how devastated Natalie was. As someone who’s learning to drive, this scared me. A lot.  I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was. I’m glad that I could hold her up when the shock started to take over and she couldn’t hold herself up. I’m glad my Mom could talk to her, and tell her that it wasn’t her fault. Natalie kept saying “It’s my fault, it’s my fault” and Mom told her that it wasn’t. That when a car swerves in front of you, your natural instinct is to swerve away and that’s what Natalie did.

I wish I hadn’t been there. But at the same time, I’m glad I was.

I’ll never know why God made this happen. Maybe I needed to see it, maybe God just needed Mom and Dad to be there to help. I don’t know, and I won’t. But what I do know is that I was there for a reason.

I’m still coming to terms with what happened. I didn’t really sleep that night, or the next. I cried almost non-stop that night, and for most of the next day. And I wasn’t the only one – some of my siblings were almost as bad as I was. They hadn’t even gotten out of the car, and they were haunted by what they’d seen from a distance.

Watching a car burn, knowing that someone was still inside, that was one of the worst moments of my life. When the men who were trying to get him out had to give up, that was a close second. Holding Natalie (and crying with her) when she learned that he didn’t make it, and hearing her sob that it was her fault, that was a close third. And meeting his family? Well, I’m not exactly sure where that ranks in the list. It was hard though.

Drew’s parents came by our house two days after the accident, and it was really good. Seeing them, being able to cry with them for a bit, it was so healing. Hearing that Drew hadn’t even spent a night in the hospital was wonderful, and they might bring him out to come see us. We’ve since met several more members of the family, and they’re all wonderful people.

It’s going to be hard, but I’m starting to be at peace. Writing about it always helps, and I’ve been talking to people about it and that’s helped a lot.

Everyone has been so supportive and I’m truly grateful for all of the texts, emails, and phone calls we’ve gotten. This reminds me a lot of the tornado. Both the accident and the tornado were traumatic experiences that rocked my world. And just like the tornado, this accident is going to take some time to get over. But like the tornado, once I’m back to normal, though it will be a completely different normal, I know I’m going to look back and see how much I grew through this.

This has been a really difficult experience, but with God’s grace, we’ll get through it stronger than before. And not just my family, but everyone affected by the accident – the Godsave family, the Bomar family, and all of the other Good Samaritans who helped.

 

 

 

PS – the local news did a piece on it if you want to find out more of the details, and my brother Colter also wrote about it.

Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey (And A Giveaway!)

I’m so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Jamie Grey’s Ultraviolet Catastrophe! I heard awesome things about it on Twitter, so when I saw the link to sign up for the blog tour, I signed up immediately. And I’m so glad I did!

ultraviolet catastropheQuantum Electrodynamics. String Theory. Schrödinger’s cat. For sixteen-year-old Lexie Kepler, they’re just confusing terms in her science textbooks, until she finds out that her parents have been drugging her to suppress her outrageous IQ. Now Branston Academy, a school run by the world’s most powerful scientists, has tracked her down and is dying for her to attend – as a research subject.

She takes refuge at Quantum Technologies, a secret scientific community where her father works as a top-notch scientist, and begins her new life as girl genius at Quantum High. But the assignments at her new school make the Manhattan Project look like preschool – and Lexie barely survived freshman algebra.

Her first big assignment – creating an Einstein-Rosen bridge – is also her first chance to prove she can hold her own with the rest of QT’s prodigies. But while working with the infuriatingly hot Asher Rosen, QT’s teen wonder, Lexie uncovers a mistake in their master equation. Instead of a wormhole, the machine they’re building would produce deadly ultraviolet rays that could destroy the world. Now Lexie and Asher have to use their combined brainpower to uncover the truth behind the device. Before everyone at Quantum Technologies is caught in the ultraviolet catastrophe.

From the moment I saw the cover over at Icey Books, I knew that I had to read this book. I don’t usually go for Sci-Fi books, but the gorgeous cover and the description had me hooked.

I started this book towards the end of an 8 hour car trip, and it was killing me when I had to put it down to sleep that night. The moment we got back in the car the next day I started reading it and ignored everyone until I was done with it.

When I first looked at this, I thought that it looked cute but all of the science stuff was going to go right over my head. I was wrong! Jamie does a great job keeping the science to a minimum, and explaining the things that need to be explained for the story.

Speaking of things that Jamie did a great job with, can we talk about the characters? Lexie and Asher were PERFECT. Lexie had just enough flaws that she was believable, and by the end of the book, Asher became a really awesome guy.

And I gotta say – I loved his shirts. And the references to all the different fandoms. And the love that wasn’t an insta-love. And pretty much this whole book.

The supporting characters were awesome. Zella, Max, and Amy, Asher and Lexie’s parents, Coco… they all played an important part and they were all perfect for the part they played.

Honestly, I loved everything about this book. EVERYTHING. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like.

Okay, I lied. I didn’t like the creepy guy. You know, the one whose name I can’t remember. Oops. See, this is my brain trying to forget the one thing I didn’t like about this book. Lol

I sat here for forever trying to think of something to say other than: “OMG THIS BOOK IS AMAZING GO BUY IT NOW.” But I can’t.

So – OMG, THIS BOOK IS AMAZING, YOU NEED TO GO BUY IT NOW. Or, you know, just enter this giveaway. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jamie_Grey_HeadshotJamie Grey spent most of her childhood writing stories about princesses who saved the day and pretending to be a daring explorer. It wasn’t until much later that she realized she should combine the two. Now, as a tech-obsessed gamer geek, her novels mix amazing scientific developments, future worlds, and the remarkable characters that live in them.

Jamie lives in Michigan with her significant other and their pets, who luckily tolerate her overspending on tea, books, and video games. You can learn more about her at www.jamiegreybooks.com, or follow her on twitter via @jamie_grey.
Jamie on Goodreads
Jamie on Twitter
Jamie on Facebook

UVC-Tour-Banner1-620x275

*Amazon link is an affiliate link.

A Year Since Outward Bound

I can’t believe I just typed those words. “A Year Since Outward Bound.”

Outward Bound taught me so much.

On Outward Bound, I learned what a wonderful life I have.
On Outward Bound, I learned that the world is very different from what I thought it was.
On Outward Bound, I learned that I could do so much more than I thought I could.
On Outward Bound, I learned SO MANY THINGS.

I learned so much, that I still don’t know all of the things I learned! But it definitely taught me a lot.

We’ll be talking at church and almost every other week I’ll bring up Outward Bound. I think about Outward Bound every day, and I talk about it just as often. I’ve even started dreaming about it again – and I still miss it.

I’d love to catch up with my crewmates again. I learned so many things from them too.

Bobby taught me that smiling in a bad situation really helps.
Luke and Ben taught me that sometimes you have to work through the pain.
One girl taught me that belittling weaker people will only make them feel bad.
The same girl taught me that sometimes you just have to get away to calm down.
Bruce and Jordan taught me that people need positive influences in their lives.
Kayce taught me that it’s okay to be shy around people at first, as long as you open up to them eventually.

And there is so much more. This is just a few out of many things they taught me. There are some I can’t even begin to think of!

I wanted to write this long post about how much Outward Bound did for me, and how great it was, but I can’t. I don’t know how to wrap this up. Outward Bound has been in my thoughts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for a full year. How am I supposed to finish this?

Speaking of not knowing how to finish my Outward Bound posts, how am I supposed to finish this one??

If you ever have any questions about Outward Bound, feel free to email me. Talking about Outward Bound is one of my favorite things to do – I’ve written over 200 posts about it! When I started recapping my trip, I had no idea that it was going to take me a year. I had no idea that I’d reach so many people with it. I had no idea what it was going to do to me.

A huge thank you to North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) for linking to these posts on their website, and an even bigger thank you to them for offering these courses. Outward Bound changed my life, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share it with everyone.

Thanks to Jen and Katie, Glenn and Patrick, Josh and Nicole, Matt and Whitney, and everyone else behind NCOBS. You all helped so much, and without you, it would have been a lot different.

Thanks to my Dad, for making me do Outward Bound. I didn’t want to do it (lets be honest, I was scared to death.) but he made me. And I’m so glad he did.

Thanks to my Mom, for letting me go for two weeks.

And thanks to everyone who has listened to me talk about Outward Bound non-stop. I’m sure it must be exhausting, and I’m sure you’re sick of it, but I can’t stop. It truly was an amazing experience, and things like that are meant to be talked about, right? :)

Life After Outward Bound, Part 2

I’ve gotten a few emails from my crew. One or two from Bobby, Luke, and Ben, a couple from Jordan, and a bunch from another crewmate (who asked me not to share his/her name in connection with the emails.)

I wish it were more than that though. The rare contact is nice, and it makes me happy. I just wish that it wasn’t so rare! But out of the ones I have gotten, I’ve gotten some nice ones.

These are all from one of the girls, and it made me wish that I’d talked to her more while we were out there:

I miss you too, it’s so weird not seeing you and the other crew members everyday.

I remember mostly everything from it and I’m definitely not trying to forget it. As much as I complained on the trip about how much I hated it, in the end, I was really glad that I was put into it. It taught me a lot of things and I met some great people, like yourself! You are literally the most positive person I’ve ever met, and ever since that trip I’ve been striving to have an attitude like yours and so far its paying off (: I read your blog though and its fantastic, I can’t wait to see more of your entries! Keep in touch with me Dora!

I feel like I should wake up in a sleeping bag full of spiders and _______ yelling in my ear lol!

 

This one is from Luke, and I thought it explained a lot! It definitely explained why he was in  so much pain the last few days.

Yeah, I had a herniated disk and a fracture in my back.

This is from one of the guys:

I have thought a lot about you all. I always think about how if you pin pointed where we all live on a map, you would see that we all come from all over the country and how we live different lives but we became good friends by the end of the trip.

And this is from another guy:

It’s weird thinking back to Outward bound I’m not sure if the experience really changed me much, but I feel an odd longing, and a bit off confusion towards the experience, and feel as if i have a connection to everyone that went on the trip.  I’ve been having dreams with all of you in it which are rather odd, and that give me a feeling that i can’t really articulate.  I guess in a way I feel like i didn’t leave things the way i should have, as i wasn’t feeling very uppity during our final days, nor do i feel as though I said good bye to everyone correctly.

It took me a while to believe that they were telling me the truth when they said things like “You are literally the most positive person I’ve ever met” and “Brett, you were always positive, even when you were scared“. Mostly because at home, I’m not a very positive person. I complain a lot, and I get frustrated easily. And I thought I was doing the same thing there, but after thinking about it I’ve decided my perception was just skewed.

What I saw as being complaining and weak, they didn’t really see. Only a few of them actually saw me cry, and a lot of the other girls complained more than I did. They probably saw me as weak, yes, but Luke was the only one who saw me break down because of it. The only other time I remember crying was the river, and just thinking about it almost makes me want to cry again! The fear I felt of that water was so real, and it still scares me.

The Posture Games

Sorry for my absence, everyone, but I’ve had tons of guests staying with us the past couple of weeks and I haven’t made the time to get away to write.

But I had to come back to share this. We were doing this tonight, and it’s been absolutely hysterical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese Cinderella

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted DaughterA Chinese proverb says, “Falling leaves return to their roots.” In Chinese Cinderella, Adeline Yen Mah returns to her roots to tell the story of her painful childhood and her ultimate triumph and courage in the face of despair. Adeline’s affluent, powerful family considers her bad luck after her mother dies giving birth to her. Life does not get any easier when her father remarries. She and her siblings are subjected to the disdain of her stepmother, while her stepbrother and stepsister are spoiled. Although Adeline wins prizes at school, they are not enough to compensate for what she really yearns for — the love and understanding of her family.

Following the success of the critically acclaimed adult bestseller Falling Leaves, this memoir is a moving telling of the classic Cinderella story, with Adeline Yen Mah providing her own courageous voice.

I found this book on our shelves one night, while I was searching for a book for my brother. I’d never read it before, and it looked interesting. So I brought it down to my room and read it.

The book is called Chinese Cinderella, and that is a very good title for it. The trials and tribulations that Wu Mei (Adeline) goes through are very much like Cinderella’s.

Her step-mother doesn’t like her, her father pretty much ignores her, and none of her siblings are nice to her. Her half-siblings are spoiled, while she gets lost finding her way back from school and no one notices.

When she goes to boarding school, things get a little bit better, but not much. She never gets visitors, egg money, or new clothes, and people look down on her.

But, as always, Cinderella has a happy ending. Adeline wins an international writing contest, winning her father’s approval long enough for her to get permission to go to a collage in England, like her brothers.

The story was very gripping – it kept me hooked till the very end. I hated having to put it down, not knowing whether Adeline was going to make it out of there or not.

I didn’t know that Adeline had written other books – I’m going to have to check them out! They look really interesting.

The Verdict: 4 of 5 Stars

This was a great book that made me want to learn more about Adeline and really, more about that time period in China.

My Week In Tweets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life After Outward Bound

After Outward Bound, I thought a lot. I thought about what I would have done differently. I thought about my crewmates. I thought about the mountains we’d climbed. I thought about the things that made me laugh, and the things that made me cry.

And I dreamed about Outward Bound too. I dreamed about being back, on that mountain, in the river, and at the Banquet. I dreamed about getting back together with my crewmates. And more often than not, I woke up crying from those dreams.

Mom said that it was because I’d become such good friends with them, and I’d never really had that experience before – becoming friends for however long the camp (or whatever) was, and then never seeing each other again. She said that’s why I came really close to crying whenever I thought about not seeing them again, and that’s why I woke up crying when I dreamed about getting back together with them.

I’m not sure why it bothered me so much. Maybe it’s because when I tried to contact them, they rarely responded.