Monthly Highlights - April 2017

April 30, 2017

   April was such a good month - we had heaps of fun, and I wrote heaps of words! Want to hear about it?

April Highlights 2017 - Post Header Image

Monthly Highlights

   - My sisters + brother and dad traveled to watch the FEI World Cup Showjumping Finals and OH MY. That's definitely something I'm never going to forget. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It's the coolest feeling ever to jump to your feet with 17k other people and cheer at the top of you lungs when an American rider wins on American soil for the first time in 30 years. So incredibly awesome.

FEI World Cup Showjumping Finals - Maclain Ward

    *smacks the sad little photo that I took with my phone* Best I got xD. And we were sitting so close to the arena that we could hear the horses breathing when they went by. Like I said - so incredibly awesome.

   - There were some fair-sized storms in April (<3 <3 <3), which made for epic reading weather. Which meant that my Camp NaNoWriMo wordcount may or may not have suffered a bit on those days. But I have no regrets! :D   

   - Musical-sister performed with her orchestra, and one of the songs they played was one of her originals. It was so so cool to watch and hear them playing one of her masterpieces. <3        

Writerly Things

   Where do I even start?

   - Camp NaNoWrimo. I had started out saying that I was going to hit 75k - and then totally forgot that I can't write that fast when it's not a zero (or first) draft. So I switched it to 50k, which I realized just wasn't going to be doable for this draft (no matter how much I really really wanted it to be) - so I ended up on 30k, which I hit a few days before the end of Camp. So I sort of managed to lose AND win, but I'm super happy with how this month turned out.

   - I got half of my novel, Killing Snow, written. Killing Snow was my Camp novel, so all 30k went to it. And once I had won, I decided that I wasn't stopping there, because it'll be a lot harder to start up again if I stop! So I set up a goal tracker on the NaNoWriMo site, and I'm planning to finish the other half of Killing Snow in May.   

   - I've had many ideas on how to expand The Testing into a full novella. I'm trying to keep it on the back-burner without killing it, because I need to get Killing Snow done first. But the plot bunnies have been coming at me full force so SEND HELP. xD
click the image to read the bit of the story that I posted on here - before I knew it wanted to be a FULL story ;)

   I'd give y'all the usual snippets - but I'm too brain-dead to look for anything suitable to share :D. However, you will get snippets in my post about Camp NaNo - which should go up around the 4th of May, along with my Camp NaNo vlog. It'll be lots of fun ;).   


Collage Of Books Read In April 2017
+ the Five Enchanted Roses collection, Rehabilitation by C.B. Stone, and Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Worst book: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Best book: It's a direct draw between Heartless (Marissa Meyer) and A Time To Speak (Nadine Brandes)

   And of course I forgot a good portion of the books I read and had to add them in as a caption. Of course. Anyways - I found a new favorite book this month! A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes was pure gold. I loved it death, it was so amazing. Definitely, definitely a book that I would recommend.

  - Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Not a book for everyone, I'll admit that for sure, but I loved it (or hated it, whatever. It's kinda simultaneous for this book). Heartless is a retelling of the Queen Of Hearts from Alice In Wonderland, and I was super curious as to how Marissa Meyer was going to pull that off. I honestly didn't know if she'd be able to - until I started reading the thing. Then (because she's Marissa Meyer, people) I was pretty sure she'd be able to do it. And OH BOY, you guys - that ending. I couldn't. My poor heart. My sister and I are still mourning it xD. A great big five stars for this book. 

   - A Time To Speak by Nadine Brandes. This book, you guys. I couldn't stop reading it once I started, and it was so amazing. I have no words. (literally, I'm having a hard time writing this because NO WORDS) The characters were some of the best I've seen, and I'm so picky about characters. The plot drew me in until I couldn't put the book down if I'd wanted to. The highest praise I can give this thing is that, should I ever need to pick my top-favorite series of all time, the Out Of Time series would be one of the top contenders for that name. I can't even with this book. A full five stars and more. 

   Also, I wrote a review of White Wolf And The Ash Princess (by Tammy Lash) this month, and I'll be writing a review of A Question Of Honor in May, if you want more of my bookish thoughts ;).


Elsewhere Online

- Alea did an epic post on how to create professional book covers (and she's also the epic girl who created the epic mock cover for Killing Snow, and her other cover work is AH-MAZING, so definitely check that out).

- Jonathan is still slaying it with his posts about faith and writing (<--- and that's only one of them). They're seriously awesome, you guys.

- Emily wrote a gorgeous poem that I couldn't get over. <3

- Burning Youth is killing it. Like usual. I won't even bother linking to all the posts - here's the blog.

- Madison did a guest post on Abi Ellison's blog on hooking readers with your first line, and it was one of the best posts I've read on the topic.

- Hanna did a amazing post about when we need a hero. I love it. Go read it. <3

- A post when up on Helping Writers Become Authors on moving the plot and OH BOY was it helpful.

- Abi posted and gave us an awesome checklist for self-publishing writers - and it's super helpful even if you aren't planning to self publish!

- Apparently people were into first drafts during April? Because Nadine, Katie, and myself all did a post on them ;).

Ramblings To Come

   My NaNo vlog. The awesome Katie Grace did a vlog about her NaNoWriMo last year, and I decided to do one chronicling Camp April 2017 (somewhat sporadically), as an apology for slacking so much during April. But I guess I did have an excuse :D.

   The vlog should be going up around May 4th, and then another How To Liven Up Your Character post, and a review of A Question Of Honor will be coming along, too. Lots of cool stuff ;).   

   So that was April! Probably one of the best months I've had this year - and now I'm super excited to see what May is going to bring!

~ Savannah Grace

   What awesome stuff happened in your April? Have you read Heartless or A Time To Speak? Did you survive Camp NaNoWriMo? (I dearly hope so!)

Book Review - White Wolf And The Ash Princess by Tammy Lash

April 23, 2017

   The lovely author Tammy Lash sent me a copy of her book, White Wolf And The Ash Princess, as a surprise (and it + the note that came with it made my day, let me tell you), and I devoured it in less than 48 hours. Which might have damaged my NaNoWriMo wordcount a bit, but I'm not having any regrets :D.  

Book Review Of White Wolf And The Ash Princess, by Tammy Lash - Header Image -

   4 Stars

   I'd never heard of White Wolf And The Ash Princess before Kendra E. Ardnek's Indie E-Con, but I was terribly intrigued by it right when I saw the gorgeous cover :D. I'm so glad I got a chance to read it, because it was quite a treat! I couldn't put it down ;).

 - From The Back Cover - 

Cover Of White Wolf And The Ash Princess, By Tammy Lash
Who am I? Eighteen year old Izzy's limited world begins to feel cramped after she completes her self-appointed book dare. After reading two-hundred and fifty books, a thought that had been once tucked away as tightly as the books on her library shelves becomes too irresistible to ignore...Who am I? Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was injured in a fire. Fifteen year old Jonathan Gudwyne and his head housekeeper rescued her and took Izzy in as their own, but who did she belong to before Jonathan took her in? Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the Gudwyne's thirteen-year old stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property's rock wall into a world that promises possible answers. A scorched castle in the woods and its mysterious cellar reveal secrets that push Izzy beyond her discomfort to embark in a journey to the New World with her young friend. Here, she finds love and a home in the most of unexpected of places.

what i liked

A Quote From White Wolf And The Ash Princess, by Tammy Lash
   - The main character. White Wolf And The Ash Princess is told in first person, so obviously it would be important for me to like the main character. And I most certainly did! Izzy wasn't one of those 'I can't do anything for myself and my world is ending so someone save me' protagonists, but neither was she 'I'm strong no one touch me'. She was perfectly balanced and so realistic. I loved her so much, and I was able to connect with her really well. <3   

   - The emotion. Tammy Lash did an great job with writing realistic emotions and reactions to different scenarios, I was impressed. It wasn't perfect by any means, but there's only one place where I could really point at it and say 'I didn't like that bit - it should have been different emotionally'. Literally only one place. It was better than some far-more-hyped books I've read. 

   - The wording. The wording in this book is a little different, and it was throwing me off at first - but after a little while, I realized that it actually enhanced the book, and I liked it more. It read a little awkwardly at times, and I would have to re-read a bit, but mostly I just enjoyed it.

   - The draw that this book had. I don't know how else to explain it. Normally I'll read a book, and then put it down for a bit to get some chores/school/life done, and return to it as soon as possible. But it was different with White Wolf And The Ash Princess - I couldn't quite thinking about it once I put it down! So I'd scuttle back to it as quickly as I could, which meant that this book (which is fairly large) was a quick read for me. I don't know what drew me back to it so much, but I'm pretty sure it had to do with the fact that the main character is epicness.    

   I could go on to wordbuilding, (which was fantastic) characters, (they were all ah-mazing), the beautiful cover (just look at it!) the beautiful themes (this book has it all) - but then we'll be here all day ;).   

what i disliked

Another Quote From White Wolf And The Ash Princess, By Tammy Lash
   - There were a few inconsistencies. (for lack of a better word) Sometimes it was a typo - though I only found a few of those in the whole big book - or an inconsistency such as saying that a character was standing by a door, when the last time you saw him he was next to a chair, and they never said he moved. It only happened a few times, but it was enough to throw me off when it did happen *shrugs*.

   - It didn't end quite like I would have liked it to. The ending was great, I'll definitely say that, but I'm more picky than a three-year-old when it comes to book endings. There's not much I would have changed, but I thought it should be mentioned. It kind of left with me a 'but ... but the story isn't done yet!' feeling - though, I think it would have been like that even if it had been a 100% perfect ending, just because I wanted more so badly :D.     

   So, not wanting to end on a sour note - this was such a good book, and I was able to relate to the main character, even if she wasn't that much like me. I loved her to bits, and I loved the book just about as much. White Wolf And The Ash Princess was in a genre I don't read to much (it wasn't speculative fiction, haha), but I'm very happy to have it on my bookshelf so that I can return to it whenever I'd like. I would recommend it for 13+, and all you lovers of a good story ;).

~ Savannah Grace 

   Have you read this book yet? (hint: you should!) Do you like books written in first person point of view?

The Sunshine Blogger Award (x2)

April 18, 2017

   Thank you, Madeline and Tracey, for saving me during my 'it's NaNoWriMo and I have no brain power with which to think of a post on my own' crisis. I hath been tagged for the Sunshine Blogger Award - twice!

   Rules: Answer 11 questions from your nominee (I took the questions from both my nominees and answered half of them. Well, okay, eight of them - but who's counting?), tag 11 bloggers, and ask them 11 new questions. Simple ;). 

The Sunshine Blogger Award Tag (x2) - Header Image

What's a book you were looking forward to so much you were scared to read it, for fear it wouldn't live up to your expectations?

   Well, it was Heartless (Marissa Meyer) but I read it a few days ago and OH MY did it surpass every one of my expectations. Literally, I thought it was a book that couldn't be done - I mean, how do you take a sweet, darling girl and show how she turns into the Queen of Hearts? - but Marissa Meyer did it so well. I was astounded. Even if I did want to throw the book at the wall multiple (probably around 367) times, I enjoyed it very, very much.        

What Question Would You Like To Ask One Of Your Favorite Authors?

   I would like to ask Marissa Meyer how she pulled off Heartless. The End, that is all. But I would also like to ask J.R.R. Tolkien which of his characters is his favorite (come on, admit it - we all have a favorite character that we've written), or ask Nadine Brandes how she was able to weave a Christian message into her books so well.    

If You Had To Describe Yourself As One Of The Four Seasons, Which Would It Be?

   Maybe Spring? I would have said Autumn, but Spring has some storms, and Autumn really doesn't. And Spring has both peppy, bright days that just feel happy, but also quiet, grey days and massive storms. Those are good days for books ;). 

Would You Rather Be Trapped In A Lamp, A Tower, Or An Enchanted Sleep?

   Not enchanted sleep - that's not interesting at all, and I'd be terribly disoriented when I woke up. A lamp seems a little cramped ... I'd probably pick a tower, though honestly I would try not to get myself trapped in the first place xD.

If You Could Learn Any Instrument Instantly, Which Would You Chose?

   Probably violin, mostly because my younger sister, Skylar, can play with the best of them, and it would be ever so much fun to play duets with her! I used to have a rented violin (I only had it for about two weeks, because it was actually a rented violin that Skylar wasn't using after she got her own, and I didn't feel like renting it again. Silly me), and we would play Zelda duets together. It was the best.  

What Book/Series Would You Love To Be Made Into A TV Show/Movie?

    Ooh, dear me. Can I say all of the books that I've ever loved? No? Well then. Probably ... the Lunar Chronicles would be awesome, and so would Heartless (though I'm pretty sure I would end up shrieking in the middle of the movie and refusing to watch the rest). Entwined and Illusionarium would be cool too, albeit a little creepy. And a LEGIT Inheritance Cycle (Eragon isn't even worth watching, compared to the books) movie series would be cool. And I would die to see A Branch Of Silver, A Branch Of Gold in visual form.

   I'll just keep going on and on until someone stops me. 

What Villain From A Book Or Movie Would You Most Love To See Transformed Into A Good Guy?

   Cath from Heartless - though, she technically wasn't a villain until the end of the book *sobs in the corner for the girl that was Cath*. 

What Is The Most Shocking Plot Twist You've Ever Read In A Book? (you don't have to say what it is, just what book it's from)

   That's tough, seeing as I've read a ton of books with amazing plot twists. But one that I've been thinking about lately is Here, There Be Dragons (mostly because I've been trying to convince my sister to read it) because THAT LAST PAGE. Epicness. I was thrilled. 

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen - front cover picture infront of bookshelf

My questions:

   - Do you own any signed books?
   - What are three of the prettiest books you own?
   - What are five of your favorite blogs?
   - If you could re-write the ending of one book, which book would it be?
   - What is the last movie you watched, and what did you think of it?
   - How did you come up with the title for your blog?
   - What's one of your favorite memories from 2017 (so far)?
   - How is a raven like a writing desk?
   - What are your three favorite fandoms?
   - Do you prefer writing by hand or typing? 
   - What's a story you'd like someone to do a re-telling of?   

I tag:

   Micaiah @ Notebooks And Novels
Hanna @ Taking My Time 
Michaila @ The Wonderkept Life
Audrey @ Audrey Caylin
Julia @ The Barefoot Gal 
Abigail @ Ups & Downs
Evangeline @ An Odd Blog 

   And that would be that - I hope you enjoyed it! I'll try to be back in another week or so with a new post ;).

~ Savannah Grace

   Have you read Heartless by Marissa Meyer? What's a book that you wish was a movie?

To All The Young Writers

April 10, 2017

i came into this post 

real plan 

i think that much is obvious by now 

but it's national
encourage a 
young writer 

and i knew i needed to tell you 

that you've got this 

yeah, you - with the ink on your fingers 
and probably your face, too
if you're anything like 

you've got this 

the words 
inside of you 
whether or not you think that at this moment 

i don't know what you've got going on in your writer-ly life 
right now 
how could i? 

but i do know that God gave you words, and that gives your words a meaning

writer, don't give up 
don't give up 
don't give up 
don't give up 

please don't give up

i know it's hard, and i know 
it hurts sometimes 
because i'm a writer, too 
so i get it 

well, not all of it 

i know you're different than i am 
we all are
so i can't fully understand - but I know that we all 
have words

words that are needed - so don't give up 

writer, don't give up 
your words have a purpose 
your words are needed 
i promise you that this is going to be worth it in the end

writer, don't give up 

we're going to make it

~ Savannah Grace 
   We're going to make it

Why First Drafts Are My Favorite

April 7, 2017

   So Camp NaNoWriMo is currently doing its very best to fry my poor brains. It's doing its work fairly well. But I figured I should at least try to write something vaguely coherent for you guys today ;).

   This post is half post, half rant, seeing as I'm REALLY hating the fact that I decided not to write a first draft for Camp, and I'm REALLY pining away to write something new. Thus you get my thoughts on why I so dearly love first drafts.  

Why first drafts are my favorite - Header

   First drafts are the most adventurous part of writing.

   I would say that it's because we don't know where the road takes us, but I think it's mostly because there are no roads. No yet, anyways. That's why we start the story - to see where we can take it.

   I adore traipsing through the first draft wilderness and getting lost in all the valleys and mountains and meadows that I'm slowly creating. But my favorite part of the first draft is the fact that the first draft is for me.

The first draft is just you telling yourself the story - Terry Pratchett Quote

   The first draft is my story for me. I can lose myself in the words and wander where I want to, without wondering what anyone else will think.
   And guess what? The more that the story is just for me, the more other people love it when I finally come to the end of the road and realize that the first draft is done. I don't know why - but there's something about tossing your whole heart into a story that makes other people love it, too.

   My first draft is just me, telling myself of a story. And that's why I love it. I don't need to worry about how the words will sound to other people (or how they sound at all, honestly. Sometime I'm not good at thinking coherently xD), or how many plot holes it has.

   My first draft is just for me. And I love that.       

~ Savannah Grace

   Which draft of the story is your favorite? When was the last time you told yourself a story?