Looking Back with Positivity

It’s the end of January and I’m back with another We Are The World Blogfest post! On the last Friday of the month we post up positive stories that we’ve found to share with our readers.

Around the turn of the new year, everyone talked about how glad they were that 2019 was finished and that they were looking forward to 2020. Many were willing to put the past year behind them and move on. Well I found a fantastic post where illustrator the_happy_broadcast created graphics for some of the positive things that happened last year!

I’m Honestly Fed Up With All The Bad News, So I Illustrated 50 Of The Best Ones from 2019

Here is one of my favorites!

How Long Did It Take?

Image of cactus and typewriter from Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

“How long did it take you to write that book?”

This is something I hear from people often. They ask how long a book took to write, and regardless of what you tell them, there’s usually a nod and an unspoken understanding. What they take away from the answer depends on what they’re really asking. Sometimes they ask out of curiosity, but sometimes it’s because they’re trying to decide if their work is worth trying to complete. Sometimes they’re judging themselves for writing too quickly or too slowly for what they see as a standard speed.

Let me just take a moment to say: it doesn’t matter.

The speed of your first draft does not determine how good it is or whether it’s worth publishing. You can take thirty days or thirty years to write it, and it will still need to be edited, proofread, and formatted. It will still need to be shopped around to publishers, reviewed, and marketed.

One of the things I love as a reader and as an author is that every book has its own story from inception to landing in your hands. Sometimes its been written in fits and starts over decades. Sometimes it was trunked, or buried away somewhere and abandoned, before being dusted off and given new life. Sometimes it’s written in a month and given a few months of editing before being published. All of these methods are completely valid and absolutely normal. There is no right speed for crafting a book.

Do you know what every book has in common? It was finished.

Now, I don’t mean it’s perfect because there is no perfect book, but it is pushed as close as it can be before being allowed to fly on its own. Art is all about striving for that impossibility, for making the story match the pictures you have in your head, but it will never completely match up, and that’s okay. As long as you can create a similar story in the heads of your readers, that’s the real win.

So to all those people working on a book slowly over time, or to those hopping from one partially finished manuscript to the next, remember that finishing it is the only real requirement. Even thirty minutes a day, or even a week, is all it takes.

You can finish it, I promise.

Give Me More Monsters

I don’t usually talk about movies on this site. I mostly focus on writing, books, and comic books, but sometimes I see films that I just have to talk about. In this case, I watched the trailer for A Quiet Place 2.

I loved the first film. It was so exciting to see an original, threatening monster introduced in a big budget film. I feel like we haven’t had those in a long time, though they were a staple in many horror movies in the 1990s. Mimic and The Relic are two that immediately come to mind.

Often created with practical effects instead of flimsy CGI, the unique monsters that used to creep people out in theaters dwindled away in the box office. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of incredible horror films. Get Out, Us, Midsommar, all of these have been incredible films in their own right. The horror genre in film has led to a horror renaissance.

So what happened to all the monsters?

Then A Quiet Place came out in 2018 and when I saw the first trailer, I was SO excited. This was a unique monster that didn’t hide details in the shadows like Lights Out, or be a human monster like in Don’t Breathe. These monsters were a constant threat, a true danger, and their strengths and weaknesses were well explained within the world. The characters had to modify everything they did to avoid them, and that’s honestly the kind of horror film I love.

Similar to Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend and Josh Malerman’s Bird Box, the world had to change to fit the monsters in it, and I feel like that’s a piece that is daunting to many writers. It’s difficult understanding how people would live differently, what choices they would make, what unique challenges they would have. I love that about those books, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed the first film despite its flaws.

The only question I had was how did the world get that way. That’s always the fantasy lover in me, that I seek answers to unanswered questions. I always want to know more about the world, though I admit that sometimes it’s fun to not know the answer too. I didn’t expect that explanation to be explored in A Quiet Place 2, and I certainly didn’t expect one of my favorite actors, Cillian Murphy, to pick up a major role in the film.

I’m looking forward to this resurgence of monster movies, of seeing unique monsters showing up in big hit movies, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Just based on the trailer it looks like practical effects are still favored just like it was in the first movie, and that’s the kind of film I love.

If you haven’t seen A Quiet Place yet, I highly recommend it. And I personally plan to go opening weekend to see the sequel!

Review: Veiled by Desire

Finished: 1/16/2020

Tavarra is a beautiful sea dweller cursed for life, forced to be a beast when the moon is bright. Rhona is a girl with the ability to control water, and her friend, Perin, is a warrior who bears a dark secret. Quil is boy with an easy laugh and a penchant for music. Finally Eza rounds out the main cast of characters as a bat-like creature with a sharp wit and a bit heart.

Together they must seek out the dark pyramid to rescue their village and find the mercurial Stone of Desire who may or may not grant a wish. This tale is filled with action, love, heartache, and mystery with a flair for the surreal and fantastic that I’ve come to love in Robinson’s work. The characters in this story are so lovable and flawed that I couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

But first, I have a confession to make.

I have a weak spot for werewolves. They show up a LOT in my books, even when I try not to let them appear. Tavarra is one of the most original werewolves I’ve read about. Her desire to go on land and leave behind the sea, staying out too long and bearing a horrible curse, and forced to roam the land with only her friend, Eza, at her side. Even her description with her bright orange hair and orange fur down her arms makes her unique.

The magic in this story is really fascinating too, mixing science with the fantastic in a way that had me very intrigued. I loved the dark forest, and how even when everything seemed safe, nothing really was.

I really loved this one because it felt so horrific, and it was refreshing to be in a completely fantastic world. Robinson knows how to keep you reading too, and at the end I had trouble putting it down! I honestly can’t wait to read Book 3 in her Laith series!

My Overall Rating: 5/5

Book Releases and a Cover Reveal, Oh My!

The year has barely just begun and already things are moving quick. March and April are going to be particularly busy times around here, so I’ve created a run-down of everything happening in about a two week time-span.

  • Friday, March 27 – The cover reveal for The Seeking!
  • Tuesday, March 31 – Release day for the Masks anthology!
  • Tuesday, April 7 – Release day for Broken!

See what I mean? It’s going to be back-to-back book releases and a cover reveal! I’m really looking forward to seeing the cover for The Seeking too because that book is going to be SUPER creepy.

Help with the Cover Reveal!

If you run a blog or a website and want to help me with the cover reveal for The Seeking, and to help with releases and cover reveals for other books from The Parliament House too, feel free to reach out on the Contact Me page! I know the secret handshake to get you in the door. 😉

Want to see what to expect within the pages? Check out the Pinterest board!

Screenshot of The Seeking board on Pinterest
Yes, there are monsters!

It’s all set around Halloween, so it’s the perfect read for Fall. I’m super excited for that book to hit shelves! (Have you added it to your Goodreads yet?)

Then Book 2 of the Stolen series, Broken, is coming out in April. And to top it all off, I’m going to be out of town that day so it’ll be extra exciting (and stressful) than normal.

Sometimes I think about where I was just a few years back. I remember working hard on my books and on my writing, hoping to someday publish my stories but never really thinking I would. Sometimes I have to stop and realize where I am and how I got here and take a breath.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes. It’s easy to worry that I’ve forgotten something or to fret that my writing isn’t good enough. Then I think back on myself from but a few years back and how pumped I would be to have these challenges then. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to feel this way, but that this is where I want and need to be right now.

The best way to remind myself that all this work is worth it? Reading amazing reviews. Hearing from people who loved Stolen. Knowing that there are many people itching to read the continuation. Reminding myself that someone out there needs to read my books, and that the only way to reach them is to keep on pushing.

That’s ambrosia for the soul right there, folks. I’m going to go roll up my sleeves and get back to pushing.