It Begins With the Book by Zoe Mathers

It begins with the book.

You started reading it the week before school. Your very first week of university. You made it to page seventy-two and are already both knees deep in the world and best friends with the characters. The night before school starts you read twenty more pages before placing it on the nightstand next to your bed and turning out the light.

The first day of school is a blur of racing from concrete building to concrete building and trying to remember that the concrete building with the blue door is where you history class is. The concrete building with the orange door is where your philosophy class is. After hearing the drone of your philosophy prof’s voice though, you hope you forget that your philosophy class is in the concrete building with the orange door and discover the coffee shop next to it instead.

The first day of school is a blur of faces. Some stick out more than the rest. Mostly the ones with bright smiles and who said hello to you first. You meet Michael. Michael is also a first year in history. He has floppy dark curls and a big grin that makes you smile back even though you’re so nervous your knees are bouncing. Michael makes you forget that your book is in your bag, the one you were going to read before class started and the one you read twenty pages of last night. He is the reason you forget to pick it up when you’re sitting on the grass during your fifty minute break. Instead, you stare out at the trees and the students walking by. The ones that dart past like bees narrowing in on a flower are all visibly first years. Their shoes are shiny, their coats aren’t missing any of their buttons, and their faces are slathered in makeup. The second, third, and fourth years all languidly stroll past you.

A lot of them have cracked, leather satchels and glasses sliding down the bridge of their nose.

That night you sit in bed on your phone. The book is still in your bag and the bookmark is still stuck between pages seventy-one and seventy-two. You found Michael’s Instagram after approximately fifteen minutes of scrolling through boys named Michael with floppy dark curls. He is from somewhere in Vancouver. He has, or had, a lot of friends. Lots of them are pretty, blonde girls all holding cups probably filled with beer or vodka or some other drink that would make your stomach twist. One boy with dark skin and short hair comes up in a lot of Michael’s pictures. Their arms are wrapped around each other. Their cheeks are pressed together.

You guess Michael and you will only ever be friends.

You put your phone down and turn off the light. The book still sits in your bag and it sits in your bag for the next night, and the night after that. Soon, its home becomes the bag.

It begins with the book but it moves on to other things too.

It’s almost October. School is three weeks deep into your life and already, its claws have torn it up into a shredded mess. You are struggling to keep the pieces from flying away. You are chasing and shoving them in your bag where your book still sits. When it fills up, you stuff them under your arms and even in your mouth.

In the second week of school, you lost your soccer ball. You thought you left it underneath the deck of your parents house, where it always is, but when you checked, it vanished. You miss kicking it down the field. You miss the wind against your face, in your hair and cushioning you as you bring the ball to the net.

It begins with the book, but it took your soccer ball too.

You don’t look for your soccer ball again. All the time spent busing to your parents house and then looking for it took away time from your history paper. The five page one on Canadian women in the second World War. It was due at midnight that night and you barely finished it because you spent all that time looking for your soccer ball. When you get your paper back, the mark makes you cringe and think about the soccer ball.

You could just buy a new one, but you don’t.

It’s a couple days into October now. The leaves are brown and their corpses stick to the soles of your shoes. The wind is blocked by your sweater as you hurry home, but you still shiver because you’re always cold now.

There is a bookstore on the walk home from the bus stop. You used to stare in the windows and then go in when you couldn’t hold yourself back. You would browse the shelves slowly and carefully, your eyes not leaving a single book behind. You would sit in the designated reading chair hidden between the young adult and children’s section and devour the first chapter of a book before buying it. Or decide it was bad and choose another.

But now you walk past the bookstore and stare into its empty, dark abyss cradled by the window. It’s closed and your reflected face is the only thing you see.

You walk away.

In your room there is a stack of unread books that you made for yourself at the beginning of the year. Before school started. You had plans to get through that stack of five books before the end of the semester. Your bookmark is still wedged between page seventy-one and seventy-two in the book that is still hiding in your bag and has been since the first day.

There is a brand new soccer ball that sits in the shadows underneath your bed. Your uncle got it for you because the reason you couldn’t find your ball is because his dog chewed it up. You haven’t touched it or even taken off the wrapping.

When you get home, you either pull out your laptop and binge YouTube or go over your lecture notes on Canadian history, or you just sit there. You sit there and think about things that don’t mean anything. You think about Michael who you haven’t spoken to since the second day of school when you sat next to him but he was already talking to the boy with sandy hair and glasses. You think about all the parties on campus you missed because you were nose deep in a book. Not your books, but the books they make you read for school. The ones where when you open them and the words seem to run together into blots of ink that make absolutely no sense. You think about your kind-of-friends. The ones who you see on only on Friday nights. Even then, all you guys do is sit around, drink beer (which doesn’t make your stomach twist anymore) and watch “Friends”. Occasionally you all laugh at something or complain about homework. Usually the only talking between friends is the conversations of the two-dimensional ones on the TV.

And then finally, you think about the book you still haven’t finished. The one lying in your bag. The part you read was good. You wanted to know what would happen next. You still do.

You pull your bag into your lap and yank it out. A corner is creased and the cover feels a little damp.

You peel open the first page and then to where your bookmark is. You read the first word and then the second word. Soon you’re done the page and you’re sprawled out on your bed. The world in the story rises up around you and devours you without warning. But you don’t mind. The characters reach out for you, hands grabbing yours before pulling you in headfirst. But you wanted them to.

You are pretty sure you had an assignment due about an hour ago, but you don’t care. The book is better. The story brings you back alive as if you’ve been Frankensteined after years of being dead. Something flickers inside of you. It’s warm and faint, but as the pages fly by it grows hotter and brighter.

It begins with the book and then the soccer ball.

It took them both from you. It took the things that lit your spirit with brilliant colour but now you have enlightened the cold, empty space it left behind.

You need this book.

You need this soccer ball.

You were lost without the things that gave you life. You lost your way along the walkway with a dozen different paths all heading into a grey haze. You lost your way among the anxious crowd of other students all stumbling in every direction. You aren’t sure which ones to follow. You aren’t sure who knows where they are going. It takes you a while to realize that no one knows that yet.

But finally, a light has flickered in the distance.

 

Well, that was my random short story that kind of sums up the basic idea of what I have been feeling lately…It has been a struggle trying to find myself again and reconnect with the things that I love to do and make me, well, me. Without them, I’ve felt a little lost but I am slowly reconnecting with them again.

I hope you enjoyed, and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

Last Blog Post: Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

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Am I Participating in NaNoWriMo?

Happy Thanksgiving for all you other Canadians!

I thought it was time to give a little update on where I’m at with my writing and if I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year since it’s only been recently that I’ve gotten back into blogging. I’ve been going back and forth about it a lot because it’s only been recently since I managed to get a grasp on managing my time and passions. However, I decided that I do really want to try NaNoWriMo this year and just see how it goes. Honestly, even last year when I had more time to write I struggled with it, so I am a little skeptical about me getting anywhere near 50,000 words this November. Might as well try though because me attempting NaNoWriMo this year is all about trying to get back into the routine of writing.

But yes! I am participating, or at least attempting to participate, in NaNoWriMo 2019. I am not 100% sure which story I am going to be focusing on, but I’ve been slowly planning out both so either I’ll decide right before Novemeber, or I will switch between them during the month. One is a fun, “trying-to-get-back-into-writing” story while the other is the Aztec mythology one I’ve been working on for over two years. I am really excited to get back into writing, and hopefully this will push me to write a little bit every day even amongst the rest of life going on because that is something I haven’t done in a while! I miss writing constantly and having it be a prominent aspect of my life. It is the same with reading. I read a lot for my degree but it isn’t the same as reading for my own enjoyment. Once again, once I get a better grasp on managing my time, I will be able to easily fit both into my schedule which I cannot wait for.

Oh! Another writing-related update is that I have decided to become a double major (this could change, but as of now, I am pretty set on the idea) in English AND writing. I did not want to just major in writing, but I really enjoy the idea of having to make time for my own writing. Even if it is an assignment, once you get past the first year level of writing courses which I have, you get a lot more freedom with your stories that you hand in and share with your critique groups. You are also supposed to pick to genres to specialize in at first, so I’ve decided to choose fiction and creative non-fiction. Let’s see if I actually follow through with this, but I hope I do because it would bring creative writing back into my life for the rest of my school years which is really important to me. I never realized how much I needed writing until I stopped for an entire month.

Anyways, that was a little, rambly update for you all on my writing and thoughts about NaNoWriMo this year! Stay tuned because the next blog post should be a random short story I wrote which I think will be a lot of fun to share as it is the first short story I’ve written since I’ve slowly gotten back into writing.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Last Blog Post: 5 Writing Prompts for Fall!

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5 Writing Prompts for Fall!

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Happy Friday!

Fall is in the air! The days are shorter, nights are darker, and the air is cooler – all meaning my favourite time of the year is fast-approaching. In honour of that, I decided it would be fun to share 10 fall writing prompts to get your creativity flowing this fall. I have done a lot of reading and book related posts these past few weeks, so it is time for a writing-related post anyways!

Here are five writing prompts from me to you 🙂

  1. You turn the corner onto your empty and quiet street only to find it covered in the thick shadows of the night. The streetlights remain unlit and shadows seem to dance in the small pockets of moonlight. You grip your backpack straps and begin walking down the sidewalk but the sound of dry leaves crunching under feet echoes from somewhere down the dark street. You pause and squint through the darkness. The sound continues, suddenly appearing right behind you and you whirl around to find…
  2. Orange flames crackle and hiss from the red brick fireplace as you snuggle deep into the couch  with a cup of hot tea steaming in your hands. Just as you raise the cup to your lips, banging erupts at the door. Each knock is hard and followed by another. You freeze, slowly setting the cup down and rising to your feet. You knew this day would come, but you didn’t know it would be so soon.
  3. Where you’re from, Halloween is the day where monsters and creatures alike can infiltrate the mortal world without consequence. Although this year is different. This year they plan on taking over and elect you as their leader. What they don’t know is, is that you’re half-human and you’re family lives in the mortal world.
  4. The trail is littered with the colours of fall and the sky is hazy with grey clouds. You shiver but he offers you his sweater. You shrug it on and smile, but he suddenly looks pale. “You okay?” You ask and he nods, lips forming soundless words. “I love you,” he says suddenly and you freeze. He watches you expectantly for an answer, eyes hopeful, but you can’t say it back. You still haven’t told him the whole truth.
  5. The bus comes in five minutes but you’re only tugging on your shoes. You yank on your jacket and fish around in the pockets for your bus pass, but your fingers find a slip of paper instead. Its delicately folded and inside, a message is written in pretty cursive. The words make your heart drop: You have 3 days.

Those are all the writing prompts I have for you today, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Also, if you want to support me and my blog, buy me a coffee with the link down below and get early access to my blog posts!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: September 2019 Wrap Up

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September Writing Goals

Happy Saturday!

I know it is still a week out until September, but I really wanted to think about what exactly I want to get accomplished during my very first year of university. I wanted to be realistic, but still make sure I got a little bit of my own, personal writing done because that is what fuels me as a person.

Also, I recently created a “Buy Me A Coffee” account! This is a really easy and simple way for creators to get support from their viewers so if you like reading my content, it would mean so much if you would consider contributing a little bit so I can continue making my blog a top priority during the school year. Thanks for supporting me regardless 🙂

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  • Write 1,000 Words Per Week – The key to success with writing, especially during busy times, is consistency. Even if it is small, setting a daily or weekly word count is essential to ensure I keep writing in my life. My ENTIRE degree is about reading and writing because I am pursuing English, so I know making time for my own writing will be a struggle. 1,000 words a week may not seem like a lot, but eventually, it will get me somewhere and that’s all that matters!
  • Write One New Short Story – I have had a couple short story ideas in my head over the summer, but I was in a weird funk for most of August (and I still am honestly) so I never got to actually writing them. I am kind of bummed about that, but I know if I stick to my 1,000 words per week goal, I will eventually be able to finish one short story.
  • Publish Three Blog Posts Per Week – A huge goal for me, especially during this first month of school, is keeping up my blog post count to ensure I do that for the rest of the year. I’ve realized over the last year, that eventually, I would really like to be able to profit a bit off of it because of all the time and energy I’ve put into it and the only way to achieve that is to be active on it!
  • Come Up With Two New Story Ideas – To ensure I keep writing a new short story every month, I have to actually have ideas. I want to sit down a couple times during the month with my notebook in hand and brainstorm some semi-fleshed out story ideas that are ready to go the next time I have the time to write. It saves a lot of writing time and is a good way to keep your brain creative!

 

Those are all of my writing goals for September 2019, aka probably one of the busiest months of my entire life, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post below, as well as my Buy Me A Coffee link and social media accounts which are all down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Attack of the Reading and Writing Slump

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Tips for a Successful Side Hustle

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Happy Thursday!

Sorry for no post on Monday, but since I am pre-writing a bunch of blog posts over the next two weeks before school starts (yes, I am actually being productive for once), hopefully, that won’t happen again for a while.

Anyways, today I will be sharing my tips and tricks that I learned throughout my two months of pursuing freelance writing as a side hustle! I love reading about this kind of stuff myself because I think it is a really good idea to have a side hustle. Something that you enjoy, and can profit off of even if you don’t make a whole lot.

Here are five tips from me to you!

1. Make Time for It

Because it is called a “side hustle”, sometimes it can get neglected more than it should. When you begin a side hustle, make sure you do have the time and energy to put into it! Figure out when and where in your schedule it fits in best, and carve that time out weekly for you to work and grow it. Just like a full-time job is usually from 9-5 and five days a week, maybe your side hustle can be from 7-9 and two or three times a week. Whatever works for you.

2. Make a Plan and Follow It

With any new career, especially if it’s freelance, it is essential to create a plan for it. You need to outline your first steps, your overall goals, and then everything in between. With this plan, it will be a lot easier to figure out what twists and turns you need to take in order to achieve success with your side hustle.

For example, my plan for my freelance writing business was to start small. I charged a very small fee for my first few blog posts in order to build up a little more clientele and background. As I keep going, I make my fee a more justifiable amount and continue to build up my portfolio!

Your plan doesn’t need to be incredibly detailed or long, but it should give you enough of a base to work off of.

3. Treat It As Important As Your Full-Time Job

Your side hustle should be important to you and therefore, worthy of your time just like your full-time job. If you look down upon it in comparison to your other job, then it will start to lack because of that. Remember that just because your side hustle is that, a side hustle, doesn’t mean it should get pushed too far away to the side. Make sure it is being seen, heard, and attended to!

4. Don’t Pour TOO Much Money Into Your Side Hustle

It is also important to remember that when it comes to the money aspect of starting your own side hustle business, the amount of money you pour into should definitely be limited. Because like I said above, a side hustle is that, a side hustle. Don’t pour all of your funds into it otherwise you may very well be left with nothing! And besides, a side hustle isn’t meant to take over your entire life and career. Usually, you begin a side hustle because you want to make a little extra money on the side doing something you enjoy!

5. Don’t Let It Distract You From Your Full-Time Job

For a THIRD time, a side hustle is a SIDE HUSTLE. While you need to give it a certain amount of time throughout your week in order for you to see actual development within it, you cannot let it take away all your time (especially at the beginning of its start-up) away from your actual job. You know, the one that is making you the real money to oh, I don’t know…pay for your food, your rent, your clothes, your life, etc, etc. Don’t neglect your full-time job because you have a shiny, new side hustle!

Here are some awesome books on pursuing a side hustle that you should definitely check out!

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days

100 Side Hustles : Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

I hope you found these five tips on how to run a successful side hustle helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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The Final Biannual Bibliothon – How Did It Go?

Happy Saturday!

Sorry for not posting on Thursday, but I just did not have the creativity or mindset to sit down and write a blog post that would be satisfactory for you all. Lately, my mind has been a cluttered mess of positivity and negativity, and I am only realizing just now that maybe I should try to work on fixing that.

Anyways, I DID want to make a post talking about how my Biannual Bibliothon went and what exactly I managed to read so I hope you enjoy!

TBR RECAP

  1. Read the Group Book – Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
    1. SUBSTITUTE – Free Choice – Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi
  2. Read a Host’s 5-star Read – Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
  3. Read a Book Based Off of the Cover – The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Read an Adult Genre Book – Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
  5. Free Choice – The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. Read a Book From an Author You’ve Never Read From – The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
  7. Read a Graphic Novel – Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise: Part One by Gene Luen Yang
  8. Read a Book You Were Excited For but then Never Picked Up – The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  9. Read a Predicted 5-star Read – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

How Did I Do?

Despite the nine days I had to read nine books, I only FINISHED four which is definitely not bad, but I was really wanting to challenge myself for this final Biannual Bibliothon. However, as I mentioned, my head’s been a little full lately, and it’s been hard to focus on a book when there are so many other things occupying my mind.

The books I did read though, were ones I really enjoyed my time with.

Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi – 3.5/5 stars

Image result for defy me

I flew through this book mostly because this is the fifth book in the series so I already know the characters and the world. However, I kind of forgot about what happened in Restore Me, so it took a little bit for me to clue into what was going on, but once I did it was smooth sailing. It wasn’t AMAZING, but it does have me curious about what will happen next. 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – 4.5/5 stars

Image result for the raven boys

As always, I love reading these books and being in this world. While they aren’t perfect, after giving this book a re-read, I definitely think The Raven Cycle is in my top 5 favourite series. Just everything from the characters to the world to the story is so rich and immersive that I can’t help but be sucked in. 

Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise: Part One – 3/5 stars

Image result for avatar the last airbender the promise book one

First off, I was a little confused when I started reading this graphic novel because I thought it was the graphic novel interpretation of the TV series, but it is actually what takes place AFTER the events of the TV show. Not that I don’t want to know about that, but it just wasn’t exactly what I was expected. Also, Katara’s and Aang’s RELATIONSHIP in this was just…strange and forced in my opinion. It kept popping up everywhere and annoying me. I always thought I shipped them, but recently, I have been aboard the Katara x Zuko ship so…

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – 5/5 stars

Image result for vicious by ve schwab

This book was SO well done and amazing, that I could not help but it give it 5 stars. I guess TECHNICALLY, this could for the challenge of reading an adult genre book as well because this book was not YA, but I am only going to count this for the challenge I originally associated it with. I loved the grey characters and grey world and superhero/villain aspect of it all because it made for a very interesting story. Now, I cannot WAIT to pick up Vengeful next!

While I only FINISHED four books, I am halfway through two others on this list. They are Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, which I was listening to the audiobook version of for the readathon but lately, I have NOT been in the audiobook mood so I only got halfway through. I am going to try and finish this book because I really like the story, but I think I will pick up the physical copy and try to finish it that way. If I can’t, oh well.

The other book I am halfway through and 100% will finish before Monday (which is when the Reading Rush begins!) is The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Currently, I am 250 pages in so either I will finish today or tomorrow. I am not going to try and fit in any other books though because I definitely want to relax before the next readathon and also get some writing done for Camp NaNoWriMo which I may or may not have been neglecting recently…

 

That is all I got done for the FINAL Biannual Bibliothon and I hope you enjoyed! Let me know if you participated and what exactly you got done because I would love to know. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel – Book Review

Happy Monday!

Today I will be giving my honest, non-spoiler thoughts on Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel which was kindly sent to me from his publicist as an ebook in exchange for this review. All of these thoughts are what I truly felt while reading the book!

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In this adult science fiction, dystopian novel, Jared Cartwright is adventuring across the wasteland of his world that was destroyed in a nuclear war. Sealed off from the last remaining flickers of human life and society, Jared has to level up beyond normal human limitations using nanites in order to survive the cruel realities of this world. On his quest of survival, Jared comes to learn that dragons really do exist when he accidentally steals a dragon egg, facing companionship of it rather than punishment by its mother. Together, Jared and his new dragon, Scarlet, tackle a new task: finding the lost dragons and restoring them to their former glory. 

Firstly, I am not a huge sci-fi fan or even dystopian for that matter. However, I did think this book was a fun step outside of my usual reading taste. I think it is good to explore, or in this case, re-explore other genres apart from the ones you constantly read. While reading this, I did remember that I don’t usually pick up sci-fi because of the science aspect of the novel. Sometimes, it is hard for me to grasp if it is poorly explained and other times, I just don’t want to read something heavily influenced by science. That is just my preference though.

The wasted world we are taken into was interesting to explore, and despite my lack of adoration for science in novels, I found the whole using nanites to survive intriguing and easy enough to grasp. Along with the “levelling up” aspect of the novel. At first, I was worried that Jared levelling up would mean he became closer to being invincible, but luckily, the author did not take that route. Instead, Jared had to rest after each level up and learn how to harness his newfound abilities. However, he could still be beaten. I hate when characters are seemingly invincible in books because that is unrealistic and completely throws me from the story. In Radioactive Evolution though, Jared is anything but invincible and while he needs a reminder from Scarlet sometimes, he realizes that too.

As for Jared and Scarlet, the two main characters in this story, I couldn’t find a way to connect to either of them. Scarlet is a dragon who often, didn’t even seem like a dragon to me. Yes, she was slowly growing at the beginning of the book, but I often found myself having to remember that she was in fact, a dragon. I did enjoy her sassy and witty personality though, and how she always called Jared out when he was acting too tough. Jared, on the other hand, just did not leap off the page enough for me so I could not feel as if I knew him. Instead, I felt disconnected from him throughout the entire novel even as we dove into his backstory.

Before I get into my overall thoughts for the actual plot in the book, I wanted to talk about the writing in this book. I thought Richard Hummel had a very simple, yet effective style of writing that allowed me to visualize each situation pretty well. It was polished and professional which is obviously, what every reader expects when they pick up a novel. This made for a quick and easy read because I was not re-reading sentences trying to figure out what was going on. However, there were quite a few formatting errors throughout this book that definitely, because of the amount, threw me out of the story. There were several times when Scarlet’s dialogue wasn’t big or bold like it usually was, and it took me a while to realize it was her speaking. There were also times when Jared’s internal thoughts that he was communicating to Scarlet were not italicized and once again, confusion pulled me from the story. Other than those simple flaws, the writing was clean and crisp.

Now for the plot.

In the beginning, I felt as if we were not getting anywhere within the story. We were wandering around, following Jared and Scarlett as they met some low-risk obstacles. However, it did pick up as expected as the story continued on. Most of the obstacles and problems our characters ran into along the way didn’t pose too much of a high-stress threat to me. My experience reading this book was easy going and rarely did I find myself worrying about what would happen next plot-wise as well as to our characters. That isn’t to say the plot wasn’t interesting though. It moved at a medium pace and while learning about the world, the plot enticed me to learn more about this post-apocalyptic world. It just didn’t bring me to the edge of my seat.

Overall, I thought this was a good adult, sci-fi story about a man and his dragon trying to survive in this wasteland and save dragons as a species as well as humankind. The story was developed well and the writing was easy to get through. While it didn’t have me on the edge of my seat if you are a fan of sci-fi I would definitely give this book a read. 3.5/5 stars

If you want to check out the book, here is a link to its Goodreads page 🙂 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42514577-radioactive-evolution

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Why It’s OK to Feel Weird About Calling Yourself a Writer

Happy Monday!

Today, I wanted to talk about something that affects ALL writers, and that is the daunting task of actually calling ourselves a “writer”. Before I get into that though, I did want to do a little announcement that I have recently added a review policy to my blog! Lately, people have been reaching out to me to review their book or their client’s book, so I decided it was time to post my review policy for all to see. You can find it, if you are interested, on the top right corner of my blog along with my “About Me” and “My Writing” pages or right HERE.

Anyways, onto the actual blog post:

A common tip that writers tell other writers to succeed in writing is to actually call yourself a writer. Tell it to your friends, shout it to the sky, or add it to your Instagram bio. The point of it is to gain the confidence you should have in that title because if you are writing ANYTHING, you are a writer!

However, it can be a difficult task for some of us. The title is too heavy to bear on our shoulders and too flashy to wear in front of others without worrying about how it makes you look. One of the most crucial steps of being a writer though is finally being able to call yourself a writer. I agree with this, but I also think it is okay to take time in claiming that title. It is a lot. Especially if you have a life torrenting with other aspects that you are having trouble capturing.

It’s okay to swallow the word one letter at a time.

The last thing you want is to rush into it head on, only to look up and see the towering mountains above and the never-ending expanse of blue sky and think wow, I am so small. You aren’t, but it feels that way sometimes.

Here are some actionable, small steps to help you get closer to calling yourself a writer, but also to not make it a scary, winding road:

  • Keep Writing – Focus on your craft. Get better. Continue loving the art of storytelling.
  • Attend Writing Events – They don’t need to be workshops because you should definitely feel confident calling yourself a writer first, but readings are fun to go to. You can listen to other writers read their work and by listening to them, you can gain inspiration and admiration off of their courage!
  • Join the Online Writing Community – Whether you want to join the writing community through blogging, being active on Twitter, Instagram or FaceBook, or all the above, either one is an effective way to get more comfortable with the idea of calling yourself a writer. Being a part of a community with people who have gone through the same challenges as you will help you immensely!

Take your time. The world will wait.

That is all for this blog post, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Reading + Writing Update!

Hellooo. I swear it has been 84 years since I have done a reading + writing update and I almost forgot to do one before the night was done but then while watching a reading vlog on YouTube I was like “YOU ALMOST FORGOT AGAIN!”. So, here I am, lying on my bed with my laptop in front of me, ready to update you all on what I read and wrote this past week. And spoiler alert, it was a pretty productive week.

This week, I finished two books and started another. That is pretty good for my reading habits lately, but considering I ended up having to go to school ONLY on Thursday (we got 3 snow days and already had Friday off…), I could have gotten a LOT more done. The first book I finished reading was one I started last Saturday I think, and that is Notes From a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life by Erin Wunker. This is a creative non-fiction book that is essentially a collection of essays about being a feminist in this patriarchal world we live in. There were three main chunks in it though, one focusing on rape culture, the other on friendship as feminists, and lastly, being a mother and feminist. I read this for my creative non-fiction assignment in my writing class, and found it really interesting and refreshing! I enjoyed it, but there was something that just kept me from really loving it though. Still, I liked it. Next, I finally, FINALLY finished reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and I am so proud of myself. I’ve been reading this book for a month, but yesterday, I finally read the last 50 pages. It’s not that I didn’t like this book, in fact, I really liked it, but it is so different from what I usually read, and much more dense that it took me a while to pick through. I’m glad I can finally check this classic off my list though, and I am even more excited to continue exploring Austen’s work. Next stop is Northanger Abbey! So, those are the 2 books I finished reading this week, but then I also decided to reward myself with one of my favourite books; To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I was, and am since I’m still reading it, just in desperate need of a fun and warm-hearted contemporary so of course, I turned to my fave. Since I am already 150 pages into it, I’m sure I’ll be able to finish it in the next day or two! While I’m not 100% sure what I am reading next, I did pick up A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro randomly from the library, so maybe I will dive into that next.

As for writing, I was surprisingly productive. Since I had quite a few days off this week, I woke up earlier and fit in at least 1,000 words before my workout. It felt so good. According to my sticker method tracker in my planner, I wrote about 7,500 words which is so great since I haven’t been doing a lot of writing lately. I did fall off the waking up early and writing thing these last few days, but I’m hoping to try and make it a routine this coming week. However, I do get Monday off as well, and then once school comes back in full swing, I will see how easy it is to keep to this routine of waking up early and writing before the rest of the day. If I try, I think I can keep it up though.

Anyways, that is all for this reading and writing update, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

P.S. I have something coming tomorrow that is a liiitle bit different than what I usually post. It’s not really part of my whole re-defining a blog thing…or actually, maybe it is. It just wasn’t what I had in mind but nonetheless, I hope you enjoy it!

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The Shadow King

Happy Friday!

One sort of “resolution” for my blog was to share my own writing from time to time…so that is what I am doing! This is an older story of mine…maybe like from 1.5 years ago when I was 15, but I still wanted to share it because it is polished and well, finished. Can’t really say that about any other of my other writing projects…but anyways, if you want to critique it or give me feedback, don’t hesitate! Tell me you like it, tell me you hate it…whatever your heart contents.


 

Her cloak was a flashing torrent of black as she zipped through the forest. Gnarled roots twisted out of the ground, but the princess skipped over them with beads of sweat dripping down her face and thighs screaming of pain. Her blue nightgown caught on a root and she slammed into a tree trunk, gasping, pushing the hood of her cloak off of her inky curls. She dropped to her knees, exhaustion blurring the edges of her vision. Her eyes scanned around. The towering trees had swallowed her up, shielding her from the outside world with their bushy tops. When she looked over her shoulder there was no sign of her castle in the distance, its vine-twisted, cobblestone walls and candlelit windows now just a faint memory of bitter times.

A silver coin winked down at her from high up in the sky, sprinkles of gold-dusted around it. The moon. Had she been running for that long already? She looked around. Night had settled over the forest. It cast its thick shadows which danced in the small slivers of moonlight, and its crisp wind which swept through the leaves. Pinching her lips together, she pushed herself to her feet and wandered deeper into the forest. The princess’s shoulders tensed, her neck angled and grey eyes keen as they scanned around.

Crunch. She stopped, breath trapped in her chest and fingers halting mid twitch. Goosebumps sprouted along her arms as she took another step forward, the icy claw of fear seizing her throat.

Snap. Her heart leapt from her chest and onto the ground. She placed a hand over her gaping mouth. Past the darkness, something flailed from behind a tree, and a deep groan echoed throughout the forest. Fingers trembling and knees wobbling, she shuffled towards the tree, carefully skirting around it in a big arc. Behind it, a wedge of moonlight trickled down onto a pile of leaves. Something twitched on those leaves; a body angled oddly with a face concealed in the shadows of the night. The princess swallowed down the bulging lump in her throat.

“Hello?” she croaked and then cleared her throat, balling her hands into shaky fists. “Hello?” she called out again. A wheezy breath rattled in the lungs of the body at her feet. The princess grimaced. “Excuse me…are you okay?” Several heartbeats passed, and she was only answered by silence.

Help me,” a raspy voice hissed, and she whirled around, expecting to see someone lurking behind her but there was nothing. It was the lump on the leaves that spoke. She turned back around, her stomach flipping at the face which was now illuminated in the pale moonlight. It was the face of a young man with sickly skin so white traces of blue veins shone underneath, and dark streaks of blood and dirt were slashed across his cheeks. He blinked, his eyes a dull blue, like the sky before a rainstorm. The princess could tell his eyes were once a brilliant blue, maybe even like the ocean on a summer day, but now they were leeched of their colour and empty. His clothes were torn and tattered, and like his face, blood and dirt stained. Her eyes flicked down to his arms and legs, which had deep, bloody gashes carved into them. The princess looked away, fist pressed against her sealed lips.

“What happened to you?” she asked breathlessly. His blue eyes darted around nervously, and his skin was shiny with sweat. The princess’s heart twisted, and she reached down for his frail hand. It was ice cold and thin under hers. He glanced down at their hands, his entire body tremoring before relaxing.

“What happened to you?” She shook her head. “Who did this to you?”

“The…” he started, his voice hitching and his eyes wide. “The Shadow King.” The princess flew away from him like he had suddenly caught on fire, the blood slowly draining itself from her body. “I was a prisoner,” he continued, pulling his arms and legs to his chest, “for two years in his castle.” He shuddered, eyes fluttering shut as poisonous memories tainted his mind. A seed of uneasiness planted itself in her stomach, and she no longer felt as sympathetic for the young man as she did a few seconds ago.

“How did you escape?” she asked, shaking as that name rang inside her mind. The Shadow King. Her mother used to tell her stories of a king who lived underneath their land for centuries. An ambitious king made of darkness and shadows who was tired of living beneath the feet of humans. A king who was building up an army to take over the lands above. The only thing was that it wasn’t a story, but a fragment of history people chose to forget. Until now.

“He let me go,” the young man said, leaning over and coughing. A dark liquid blossomed on the ground next to him and the world tilted under the princess’s feet.

“The Shadow King doesn’t just…let people go,” she said as the young man rolled onto his back, sweat dribbling down his forehead and his chest heaving up and down. The princess bit her lip. “Tell me the truth.” The young man sighed and looked up at her through the corner of his eyes, defeat and exhaustion painted in grey all over his face.

“He-he let me go to-to,” he started, squeezing his eyes shut and grimacing. “T-to deliver a message to the King of Nordom.” The world around her faded, all noise becoming just a faint static in her ears. She shook her head, lips parted. What message would the Shadow King give to my father? What does this mean?

“What is it?” she asked, head snapping up as everything came back into focus. The young man stared blankly at her. She pushed the stray pieces of hair from her face and glared down at him. “I am princess Adelyn of Nordom,” she hissed viciously, startling him and herself. She had never known herself as the kind to hiss, or be vicious. The princess glanced away, shaking her head. “Just tell me. Please.”

“The Shadow King said,” the young man started slowly and hesitantly, licking his dry lips, “that the world will not end in a bang or a crash, but with one scream at a time…u-until there is nothing left,” he paused, lips shaping invisible words. In his lap, his fingers fiddled with each other. “A-and that end is the next Harvest moon.” The world was a carpet being yanked out beneath her feet. Her knees wobbled and she fell onto the forest floor. The next Harvest moon? That was only four days away! Her stomach flopped and flipped like a fish out of water as fear washed over her in monstrous waves, her skin clammy and chest tightening until no air was left. She dragged her eyes to the young man. He was suddenly still and unmoving. Pushing herself to her feet, she walked over to him, arms crossed over her chest as if to defend her from the bitterness of reality. He still didn’t move. Not even when a stick snapped under her foot, the sound echoing sharply throughout the forest.

“Young man?” she asked, bending down next to him and shaking him gently. No response. She leaned over him and gasped. His blue eyes were open and glassy, and he wasn’t blinking. Letting out a soft breath, she closed his eyes with her fingers before scrambling away and retching beside a tree trunk. Tears trickled down her cheeks in winding streams, sobs silent but stabbing pains in her chest. She stared up at the night sky.

The King’s message played over and over in her head. She realized what she had to do. Adelyn had to go back. She had to go home to her parents and warn her people, despite all the mistakes they made she still loved them.

It was only a matter if they would love her back.

Slowly she backed away from the dead body on the ground, and then spun around, breaking into a sprint. The tears continued to roll down her cheeks, the same words playing on a loop in her mind, inching her closer to the edge of insanity.

The world will not end with a bang or a crash, but with one scream at a time. Until there is nothing left.

Those words sounded insane, the product of one who sees ghosts and talks to the moon like she is a friend, but the princess gripped those words to her chest as she ran through the forest, cradling their power and hoping that it was all enough.