For the past four months, my life has been one hectic whirlwind with little down time. Between college application preparation, staying on top of homework, and doing PR work for Melissa A. Petreshock, I've had no time to write Tears of an Angel (which needs a 3rd overhaul). Because of this, the sequel to The Belgrave Daughter will be pushed back to Spring 2015. The good news is I already have the final outline, and can salvage a majority of scenes from the second and third drafts. I plan to write a lot this summer and next Winter and Spring Breaks. If I'm lucky, I'll already be writing the third book during my Senior Initiative (May 2015).
Fire of Stars and Dragons is here! *fangirl flail* It's finally here! And I happen to have control of the Dragon Blog on release day. No pressure. To celebrate, I'm doing a FOSAD Coke or Pepsi game, and a guest post on why Caitriona Hayden is a kick-ass heroine and great female role model. Both will be posted on Melissa's blog, and below.
FOSAD Coke or Pepsi
And there you have it! Hope you had fun reading my answers.
**my answers are red**
Eternal Love or Immortal Romance
Past or Future
Personal Assistant or Lawyer
Vampire or Demigod
Oliver or Corrin
Blue Oyster Cult or Pink Floyd
Fae or Elf (not even a question in FOSAD)
Waltz or Tango
Claaron or Jai (I love both!)
Pendragon or Graywyne (read more)
Dine In or Dine Out
Bastille or Imagine Dragons (full FOSAD playlist)
Fire or Lightning
Taylor Kitsch or James McAvoy
Dragons or Stars
I am an avid reader. I can finish a book in 3 hours, maybe a little less if it's fantastic (like Fire of Stars and Dragons). And while I love all the teen and NA books I've read (romance and otherwise), I always feel like the industry has yet to offer a great, strong female role model (aside from Hermione Granger, who ROCKS).
I loved The Hunger Games, but Katniss Everdeen avoided anything "girly" like it was the plague. THG made it seem like if Katniss really liked the clothes Cinna designed, she wouldn't be as formidable as she is when armed with her bow and arrow. This isn't true. Being in touch with one's femininity doesn't necessarily negate her strength.
Another example, Tris Prior from Divergent. Yes, she's an ordinary girl, but with the help of her dark, mysterious, and handsome male trainer, Four, she quickly rises to become a powerful player in her dystopian world. But without him, she'd probably have ended up dead. I'm not saying she isn't strong, but the way the story is framed, she needs a man to unlock her full potential.
Caitriona Hayden: Kick-Ass Heroine and Female Role Model
Bliss Edwards from the ever-popular Losing It by Cora Carmack is awkward and shyâmore so when in the presence of her hot teacher/love interest, Garrick. I'm not saying everyone needs to have everything figured out by college, but like Tris, Bliss seems dependent on her mentor/love interest.
Abby from Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire knows Travis is a bad influence but continues to pursue a relationship with him. It's more than a simple attraction to the "bad boy" persona. It's an active decision and sets a bad precedent (though I still found it an entertaining read).
In FIRE OF STARS AND DRAGONS
Caitriona Hayden is different. She tells readers to take what they know about female heroines and shove it in a corner. Cait redefines strong female heroine by being truly independent (not looking to a man to tell her how to be, besides explain her destiny).
You will learn within the first chapter that Cait is not your usual docile female protagonist. She knows what she wants and has a plan to achieve it. But unlike other female characters, she doesn't go to the extreme of being super masculine or asexual (because honestly where would that leave this steamy romance?).
Cait doesn't cower in the presence of the 3 powerful, supernatural men courting her. When something or someone displeases her, she makes it known. She is educated, classy, assertive, and takes her life in her own hands. It's because of these qualities that Ms. Hayden is a worthy literary female role model. She's by no means without some personal flaws, but her proactive attitude sets a great example.
And that is why I love Cait and FOSAD!
~Witch Writer Zara
If you didn't already preorder Fire of Stars and Dragons, BUY IT NOW (scroll to the bottom)!
About the Book
I spent 2 hours this morning zooming through this book. After waiting so long for the conclusion to the Sweet series, I was worried it wouldn't stand up to the hype. But it did, and more! There was definitely excitement and sexy romance on practically every page of this non-stop adrenaline rush.
Okay, let's start with the big question: do Anna and Kai finally get together? WELL... you have to read the book. I know that was mean. Okay, so while I can't really give anything away because I HATE reading reviews with spoilers, so I refuse to write reviews with spoilers in them.
I can’t say I really started thinking about writing seriously until I was starting Sixth Form and sixteen years old. I’d completely NaNoWriMo the November before, but I’d used it more as a way to stave of my distraction in class than as a tool for crafting a manuscript. Yet, a manuscript I had. I’d written ‘novels’ before (and failed to get published) but I’d never had such a wordcount so high (the first result of 60,000, which later turned into the novel’s 80,000, was a total beyond my imagination at that point) or a plot so complex (that’s what one gets for a fascination with time-travel…).
Indeed, I didn’t get my first proper Critique Partner until the site Teens Can Write, Too! held a CP match-up service – and, as with every writer at my stage of their career, I was suddenly aware of the fact that my writing needed work. A lot.
I guess that’s the moment I thought “yeah, I’m serious enough about this writing thing to take critique and edit what I didn’t want to before”. But, by that point, my academic workload and my creative workload needed a bit of juggling if I was to pass my first year of Sixth Form to start applying to university.
Yet, somehow that year, I still got a short story published in a charity ebook. I couldn’t keep my mind from straying towards plots and my own internal progression.
As is probably obvious from the title of this post, I did pass that first year, and I did get into university. Whilst I should have known, from the previous abrupt absences of online writer friends in the years above me, that university takes up more time than one realises (even with less contact hours), I didn’t anticipate how much I’d be battling the urge to write and the duty to my studies.
In school, one has ‘independent study’, but ultimately, learning is a case of noting down everything a teacher says and being able to accurately memorise it for an exam; in uni, all study is ‘independent’. Technically, the lectures I go to are optional and only my tutorials are compulsory – for which I have essays to write. However, this means that some of what I have to learn for my exams next month is research from journals I have to find myself.
The biggest difference, I’d say, is how time saps away. I had homework at school, but somehow, every evening I could complete it with time to edit a bit more of my novel or to scribble out a few lines of new works-in-progress. Nowadays, I write as if I myself live in a temporal vortex!
The truth is that the way I write now is almost counter-logical. I may wake later and have two-hour clubs after dinner, but I give my evenings almost solely to writing now, unless I have an assignment due in (even then, I would hope to have made progression on it during the day). In general, as we mature from the schedule of being ‘teens’ to being ‘young adults’ (or should that be ‘New Adults’?), we alter our circadian rhythm, our innate bodyclock, to a pattern that should allow us to make the most of the day.
I have always written better in the evening, but before I moved into halls, I had limited time (yes, until I was eighteen, I had a designated bedtime…except, of course, we didn’t call it that!), but now I’m surrounded by people who stay up until the wee hours of the morning. In true human nature style, I adapt. And my writing adapts with me.
Yet – and this may be because I’ve concentrated on editing for far too long – my writing progress is definitely less than when I was writing whilst at school.
Who can say from where this change comes? Perhaps it’s something to do with the freedom of my own schedule and the fact I no longer have to get up at stupid times in the morning to attend classes. I have one theory that I’m getting lazy! Perhaps, though, it’s because I have more on my mind: not only do my characters call to me in the middle of lecturers, but ideas of theoretical research call to me when I’m surrounded 24/7 by people who are also studying and discussing their subjects.
In my very last year of school education, I took three subjects and, though I attempted readingaround the subject, I took them superficially. For instance, I loved my Latin classes, but in the end, I knew that translating into Latin wore me down so much I strayed away from doing more than necessary. On the other hand, the two subjects I’m taking for my degree are dear to me. Whilst I may not enjoy the precision of crafting a lab report, I revel in knowing how the perceptual system works or being able to say “left inferior temporal gyrus” and knowing (give or take an inch) to where in the brain I’m referring.
As such, it’s not time that’s running out for me in terms of how my writing schedule and pressures have changed in my first year of uni, but, rather, the mental capacity that changes with the additions of uni. The working memory system can hold a maximum of 7 stimuli information pieces at once – this means that no matter how well one can juggle one’s activities, one can never truly juggle one’s thoughts.
So, Teen Tuesday readers, life changes are inevitable. I’m not going to be cliché and say that with birdsong in the background. Whilst we can’t deny that the writing progress is going to change after we move to a new ‘level’ of life – and nor can we change it – we can automatically adapt. And it’s worth spending some time thinking about that.
Alexandrina Brant is an eighteen-year-old Englishwoman about to start the final term of her first year at Reading University, studying a BA in Psychology and Philosophy. Aseclectic as her reading/writing tastes are, she gravitates towards witty mysteries and clever romances, and, whilst always twirling her parasol about Victorian manners (a la Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes), she’s recently developed an interest-that-won’t-go-away in all things Steampunk. She’s currently querying an NA Fantasy Romance about love, loss and temporal paradoxes.
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Life on Earth is predicted to end on 15 July 2015. But the oncoming megatons of rock and ice break up shortly before impact. Now humanity must live in a world most believed would not exist. Across the planet, people are haunted by the future they did not fear, and even those who did not embrace death must face the consequences of others' decisions.
A collection of twelve stories about rebuilding hope by eleven authors from all over the world.
Book Website | Kindle | Amazon | Smashwords
This was a fun, light story. The whole premise of the story is pretty amusing to begin with, as is Jason's reaction to Lady Olivia before and after he realizes she's the wife he's trying to divorce to pursue her. I couldn't even write that last sentence without smiling.
Lady Olivia's wit is entertaining, and her cutting remarks are always well merited by Jason, although I don't exactly blame his mistakes (he was drunk out of his mind when they were married, after all).
This post was written for Melissa A. Petreshock as part of her new "Teen Tuesday" series. To learn how you can get involved, click here.
At the risk of repeating myself (and every teacher and former high school student): Junior year is hard. But this past week, and the upcoming two, are so full of school work, promoting Fire of Stars and Dragons, and SAT work that it's a wonder I haven't collapsed yet.
Anyway, there are times when I'm trying to a million things at once. And normally, people will tell you that it won't work. Something will fall through the cracks. But while I don't like the stress of being time-crunched, it helps me stay productive and crank out one project/assignment after another. As Melissa can tell you, what with being under deadline for the second book in the Stars & Souls Trilogy, sometimes you just have to sit down and do the work.
Sorry for the short Teen Tuesday. Next week we have another guest teen, and by then my work will (hopefully) be back to normal levels. Until then!
Besides writing, music is the one thing that can always, without fail, make me feel better. It also pulls people together. While most of my friends and I listen to different types of music, we have the ability to share and enjoy each other's favorite songs. My mom and cousins are responsible for my current, eclectic love of music: from Joni Mitchell to Broadway to Of Monsters and Men.
I love Sara Bareilles. Her music is awesome and now she's writing the music for Waitress: The Musical. Sara has gone on record saying that Carole King is one of her musical idols. And it just so happens that my mom grew up with Carole's music like I am with Sara's. Two musical giants came together at the 2014 Grammy's to perform a mashup of their two hits, "Beautiful" (King) and "Brave" (Bareilles). What's beautiful (pun not intended) about this performance is that it brings past and present and generations together.
When my friend Anika Larsen, who I met through Zanna Don't (the reason I love musical theater), landed the role of Cynthia Weil in BEAUTIFUL: The Carole King Musical, my mom and I were so excited to see her shine—and to listen to some #1 hits while we're at it. So, I asked Anika if she had time in her busy Broadway schedule to answer a few questions.
Interview with Anika Larsen
1. What drew you to BEAUTIFUL?
I was asked to do the first developmental reading of BEAUTIFUL about 4 years ago. I didn’t know a thing about it. And I didn’t think I knew who Cynthia Weil was, though of course we all know her music even if we don’t know her name. I did two more readings after that, and had my heart set on playing this sassy, smart, wildly successful woman, so when I got the offer for Broadway, I was over the moon.
2. What is your favorite thing about being Cynthia Weil?
That is impossible to answer--I love the totality of playing Cynthia Weil, there’s no way to break it down. I love my songs, my funny lines, my costumes, my castmates, our crew, our management, our theater. My cup runneth over at this gig.
3. How has music impacted your life?
I have 9 brothers and sisters adopted from all over the world, and it was important to my parents that they raise us in a community that looked like my family. So I grew up in Cambridge, MA, a proudly multicultural city with public schools that were very socioeconomically diverse. It was at school that I learned to love music with soul, and tried to emulate mostly African-American women singers. And I have found that because of the music I prefer to sing and listen to, I end up in groups, shows, rooms that are more diverse than I might have. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the degree to which music is a bridge that brings cultures together.
4. Who/what was your favorite musician/band when you were 17?
I wanted to have Whitney Houston’s voice. I still do.
5. How do you stay inspired when life gets hard?
There’s a lyric from my first Broadway show, RENT, that became the show’s tagline: “No day but today.” I think when you’re really able to wrap your brain around the idea that there is only this moment right here, that if you let memories from the past or worries about the future ruin it you’re just wasting this moment so you oughta just enjoy this moment the best you can, then that is deeply helpful perspective.
6. What advice would you give people looking to get involved in the creative arts?
Don’t let anyone talk you out of at least giving it a shot, because we live a long time these days, and there is plenty of time to try out one career and then shift to another. I think there are few things sadder than “What ifs." Also, if you try your hand at what you most love to do, even if you don’t end up succeeding at that, you might get funneled into a different side of the creative arts industry that would also bring you joy.
And there you have it, folks! Thank you so much for doing this interview, Anika. I know I can't wait to see BEAUTIFUL again, and hope many others see the show too.
Barry Mann (played by Jarrod Spector) and Cynthia Weil (played by Anika Larsen)
sing their song "Walking in the Rain"
And for those of you who are still unconvinced Carole King has shaped modern music, google "songs written by Carole King" and you may be surprised by how many hits she wrote and were sung by other people. Great example? Aretha Franklin sang "Natural Woman" and this past Tuesday, Amber Patrice Riley sang the Carole King song on Glee (as her character Mercedes Jones). Watch Glee's version of "Natural Woman." This just goes to show that King's music is still making a splash in the modern world.
It is my pleasure to share the spotlight with author friend and fellow Go Teen Writer member, Adriana Gabrielle.
Making time to write, For me that’s a hard thing to do.
I’m a homeschooled high-schooler, I take ballet, I do weight training, I play volleyball, I attend church and youth group on a weekly basis and I spend a lot of time with my family and friends… Oh yeah, did I mention that I am the oldest of 8 kids?
As you can tell. I’m a very busy teenager. So, how do I fit writing into my schedule?
I have found that in order to get the best out of my writing I wake up early. It seems to work out very well for me and my busy schedule because A.) I write better in the mornings and B.) There is just those times where I am too busy throughout the day to find time to write or my siblings are running around making lots of noise and it’s hard to focus. (I have learned to focus with all the noise but early mornings are more preferable…and peaceful…)
So everyday, to get my writing in, I wake up at 4:45AM and by the time I put on a warm comfy sweater, get upstairs, make some tea (I'm an Twinning's Earl Grey kinda Gal ;) ), power up my laptop and get my youtube playlist going, it's 5AM..or shortly thereafter depending how sluggish I am that morning.
My family's morning routine starts around 7:30AM which gives me time to write my novels, plot, write blog posts, chat with some of my friends (who are up at weird hours in the morning as well) or sometimes just dance around to music when I should be writing. (Because I'm cool like that )
Let’s be honest most of the time when writing it’s 99% being distracted with writing related things and 1% actually writing a novel or whatever. Anyone else know what I mean?
So, back to my point…Everyone has different times where writing fits best into your own schedule. So maybe a writing schedule that works for me might not work for you (or vise versa). All it takes is those few extra minutes in your day to sit down and just figure out, ‘Okay when does writing best fit in my schedule?’
I know that once I figured that out I something.
Having a consistent writing time eventually helps you have a good writing session.
I find that now that I automatically know that when I wake up early in the morning the creative juices start doing their job a little more therefore helping me get the most out of my writing session.
If you have a consistent time then your brain will eventually learn to go: “Okay it’s [insert time here] it’s time to write.”
So, as I mentioned a little earlier in the post, I write at 5AM every morning. You’re probably wondering why it’s so dang early in the morning that I write. Here are two reasons. The first reason I explained earlier about wanting to get some peaceful writing time and the second reason is NaNoWriMo.
Who here has done NaNoWriMo before?
Well, November 2013 was my first year doing NaNoWriMo and writing for an hour in the afternoon was not helping me get my word necessary count in so I decided, about a week in to NaNo, that I was going to experiment waking up early and see if that would help me get at least my minimum word count in. The first few days I wasn’t noticing a difference (but believe it or not, I am NOT a morning person…Okay, well I am now…) because I was getting distracted but once I buckled down and actually did it I found I could get the minimum word count in (and sometimes a little more).
Every since NaNoWriMo I have woken up early and had some of the best writing sessions ever.
My suggestion is this: Look through your schedule, pick the same time everyday to write, and once you have done that, watch your writing show up on those blank pages like lightning and see your novel finished. Yay!
So I only have one thing to say:
(Warning: Teen nerd girl alert) Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor. (If you don't get the reference, read The Hunger Games immediately)
About Ariana's WIP: Unbreakable is a YA Christian Contemporary novel and is currently in its second round of edits.
All of Billie Crane's memories, as far back as she can remember, are tainted by abuse. Never once had she considered running away, but all that changed when friend turned on friend and she became not only a victim of physical abuse but also a victim of rape. She avoided telling her father, knowing he would blame her, but when she found out she was pregnant she realized that she couldn't hide it forever. Left with few options, she abandoned her home and hunted down relatives in a city nearby.
They took the poor girl in with open, unquestioning arms. While with her family Billie meets Kenton McCarthy and his sister Finley, both of whom befriend her easily. Billie confides in Finley but pushes her brother away in fear of what he – or any young man – would do to her.
With the help of her supporting family Billie finally faces the phantoms of her past, battles bitterly against depression and stands against the pressure of deciding what to do for her unborn baby.
Will this God she's been told about truly love her again? How could a God who supposedly loves her allow all these horrible things to happen? What about him? Would he find her? Hurt her? Can she really trust her newfound family and friends?
Adriana Gabrielle is a 16 year old writer and has been writing fantasy novels since the age of 9. She started writing contemporary novels at the age of 13. Adriana hasn’t had any published novels but it is a goal she has made in her life to get at least one of her many WIP’s published. When she’s not writing she is dancing, spending oodles of time at the library, watching the occasional TV show, drawing and reading. She has alos loved the whole process of making movies. Usually, Adriana spends more time reading about the process behind making her favourite movies and watching all the bonus features than actually watching the movie…
She lives in Alberta, Canada with her Amazing parents and 7 younger siblings.
Blog | Nerd Girl's Life | Peculiar Pen Pals | MAE Movie Productions
Ending April 13. Enter now to win some wonderful books, including The Belgrave Daughter.
2014 has been a huge year for me. 11th grade got serious when we started talking about the college application process, homework seemed to multiply in quantity and difficulty, and I became Melissa's Personal PR Assistant. Exhausting, but very satisfying. I've just returned from an equally busy Spring Break: I was in New Orleans on a Habitat for Humanity trip, visited 5 colleges (of which I only liked 2), and organized Melissa's new and improved blog schedule. No biggie. I may need another break just to recuperate from this one, but I don't see that happening in the near future. The good news is, in addition to all that, I've been writing the sequel to my debut novel (below). Granted, I'm on the 3rd draft, but it's finally taking shape! (To see my progress, click here). Also, Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those who don't know) starts today, so that should definitely keep me on track!
Being a student and author is hard, but with proper time management (with built in time for procrastination, because let's face it, not only am I a teen but social networking is also a giant black hole), I manage and juggle all my work. I always have a list going of things I need to do—in my backpack, on my phone, on my desk, etc. It helps keep me organized and things in perspective.
For anyone with school work, a day job, or some other responsibility that takes away from your writing time, here's my advice: Do those tasks first, then reward yourself with writing time. It's a great motivator on both ends and keeps you as productive as a well-oiled machine.
Hope you enjoyed my post! Go and support Melissa A. Petreshock and preorder her NA Fantasy Romance novel, Fire of Stars and Dragons.
Following the death of her vampire uncle, twenty-one-year-old Caitriona Hayden finds herself in the midst of a trio of quintessential alpha male suitors in 22nd century sovereign America where human females should be seen and not heard.
Theo Pendragon claims her as his ward, ordained to guard her through to a long-awaited destiny unbeknownst to Cait, but finds more than he expected when passion ignites within the dragon for the first time. Always drawn to the pursuit of knowledge rather than the heat of desire, powerful demigod Dante cannot deny everything his future holds in Caitriona. America's monarch, ancient vampire Corrin, has no interest in the frivolity of love, yet marrying Cait could be the answer to his continued survival.
Soon, Cait goes from studying for college exams to choosing a husband in seven days, knowing the consequences are eternal, the love undying, and the bond timeless.
Read an excerpt | Add on Goodreads | Kindle | iBooks
I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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