Author Interview with Alicia Dean

Join me for an interview with mystery, thriller, and paranormal romance author, Alicia Dean!

Happy Monday!

Today I have an exciting post and it is an author interview with mystery, thriller, and paranormal romance author, Alicia Dean! I asked Alicia a series of questions about her writing process and her books, so I hope you enjoy 🙂

1. How did you first fall in love with writing?

When I was a child, I loved to read. And my own stories started forming in my mind, and I knew at an early age that I wanted to be a writer.

2. Is there a book or series that has shaped your writing?

There are many books that stuck with me and shaped my writing. Over the years, there have been different influences. One of my earliest influences, other than Pippi Longstockings and Amelia Bedelia, LOL, were Harlequins, then Sweet Savage Love. Although, I oddly have never written a Historical and don’t really read them now. I discovered Stephen King and Michael Connelly and my interest morphed to murder. 😀 

3. What does your current writing process look like?

A haphazard mess. 🙂 I have difficulty being creative in the evenings, so my goal is to rise earlier than normal and spend at least an hour writing. But, as of late, I haven’t been able to stick to my goal. I at least try to write a minimum of 10 minutes a day, no matter what else is going on so that I at least accomplish something and stay connected to my story.

4. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Traveling, watching MLB and NFL, reading, watching TV, hanging with my kids, friends, and family.

5. What is your favourite genre to write in?

Suspense/police procedurals. Though I also enjoy paranormal.

6. Do you have a favourite book of yours that you have written? Or at least, a current favourite?

I think Without Mercy might be my all-time favorite of my own books. Though I enjoyed writing Soul Seducer a great deal too.

7. You have several books being re-released. What inspired this decision?

I self-published them originally, because, at the time I wrote them, they didn’t fit in with what The Wild Rose Press was publishing. And, for some of them, they were written with a group of other authors for a specific project. Since that time, TWRP has begun accepting a wider variety of genres. I love being an author for The Wild Rose Press and I thought releasing them through TWRP would breathe new life into them.

8. Soul Seducer is the first book of yours being re-released this week on April 14. Can you give a summary of this story?

My heroine, Audra, is a nurse who has a near-death experience, which opens a portal, more or less, between her world and the world of reapers. She is able to see and communicate with grim reapers after that. One of the reapers is beyond evil and he takes people ‘before their time’ which is painful for the person and damns them to an eternity of torment. Another reaper, who becomes my heroine’s love interest, is trying to stop him. Everyone in Audra’s life is in peril, from her patients to her friends and family. 

9. Your re-releases are getting brand new covers. Out of the ones that have been revealed, do you have a favourite?

It would either be Soul Seducer or Once Upon a Gothic. But it’s difficult, because I love them all.

10. Where can we find the re-releases of your books?

You can find them at Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3wNIpjg or on my website: https://aliciadean.com/books/

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Check out my last blog post: April + May TBR

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My Goals for 2021

With 2021 around the corner and me being on my holiday break from work, I’ve finally taken the time to map out my goals for the new year and now, I’m here to share them with you!

I have a pretty lengthy list of goals, but a lot of them don’t have a solid end goal or point. Most of them are just activities or things I want to spend time working on throughout the year. Anyways, before getting into my goals, let’s chat about some tips for creating and achieving your goals.

5 tips for achieving your goals.

  1. Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant & Time-Based)
  2. Make sure your goals reflect your intentions for the year (for example, my main goal is to grow my freelancing business so a lot of my goals are continuing to study social media marketing, etc on my own time, develop a marketing plan for my business, etc.)
  3. Develop an actionable plan for each goal
  4. Write them down
  5. Revisit them at the end of every month

My goals for 2021.

Writing

  • Finish writing The Obsidian Butterfly so it is ready for editing
  • Keep up blog schedule of posting once a week to each blog
  • Outline 2nd The Obsidian Butterfly novel

Freelancing

  • Have freelancing become my part-time job (get between 20-25 hours of work)
  • Create a social media/creative agency (make a website and new social media accounts)
  • Continue learning about digital marketing through online courses
  • Continue taking editing and writing classes (you can never stop improving!)

Reading

  • Read 30 books
  • Actually read all my assigned readings for school (I slacked a little last semester, I won’t lie)

Lifestyle

  • Travel locally more (if things get better, obviously)
  • Keep up my workout routine of going to the gym 2-3x per week
  • Get back on track with school (last semester, I only took 2/5 classes so I want to make sure I am doing full semesters from now on)
  • Prioritize my mental health (this means continuing counselling, focusing more on self-care, etc.)
  • Save more money
  • Develop a repeatable morning routine (it doesn’t have to be a crazy 1 hour routine, but it could just be reading first thing when I wake up)
  • Spend less time online (since it’s my job to be online, I want to cut down my screen time when I’m not working and spend more time outside or reading)
  • Meditate and journal almost every day

See? I have a pretty long list of goals for 2021 which I don’t always recommend. However, a lot of my goals are small things to implement into my days or weeks or even months. I am really excited to work towards achieving these goals because they help keep me on the path I want to be on for the next year. Like I said, I really want to focus on growing my freelancing business but I also have a lot of lifestyle goals because I definitely neglected that aspect of my life in 2020.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what your 2021 goals are! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Post-NaNoWriMo Plans

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My FINAL TBR of 2020

Today, I wanted to share my final TBR of 2020.

This is a list of all the books I want to read before the new year, which I cannot believe is almost here.

Even though I am mostly out of my reading slump, I haven’t been reading very fast, or much at all, lately. I think I have been working on Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare for over a month now, however, in my defence, it is a beastly book. I have also started a few other books along the way which I will include in my TBR, but there are a couple new books that I am itching to pick up before 2021 too.

Fingers crossed that since school is wrapping up and I get a break from work for the holidays, I will be able to finish the year strong reading-wise!

Here is my final TBR of 2020.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

Last I checked, I have 250ish pages of this book left which I am fairly confident I can get done this December. I don’t know why I picked this book up after my reading slump because 1) it is my least favourite in The Dark Artifices trilogy, and 2) it is almost 900 pages! But, I have been enjoying myself as I always do when I am in this Shadowhunter world so that counts for something.

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Robin Wasserman, Maureen Johnson, and Kelly Link

Ghosts of the Shadow Market: Amazon.ca: Clare, Cassandra, Rees Brennan,  Sarah, Johnson, Maureen, Link, Kelly, Wasserman, Robin: Books

I call myself a massive Cassandra Clare fan, yet I haven’t picked this book up until now! Well, anyways, I have it and suddenly decided it was time to read it. While I am only 80 pages into it, I have been loving it. Reading more about the main characters in Chain of Gold is my new favourite past time because I am a huge fan of them all –especially Matthew. I have no doubts about finishing this book before 2021 because I have only sat down once or twice with it, and I am already almost 1/5 of the way through. However, like ALL of Cassandra Clare’s books, it is a chunky one.

The Round House by Lousie Erdrich

The Round House: A Novel: Erdrich, Louise: 9780062065254: Books - Amazon.ca

The Round House is a book I was assigned for school and even though classes are finished and I am supposed to be done this book by now, I don’t think I am even 100 pages into it. The thing is, it is such an amazing and important book. But, once again, it is the fact that I have to read it for school that is holding me back from picking it up and reading more than 10 pages at a time. That, and it deals with some very intense content matter. However, I do want to finish it. I am hoping that since school is almost over, I will be inspired to pick it up more often.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades: Amazon.ca: Meyer, Marissa: Books

I may have splurged on books this past weekend and one of the books I picked up was Renegades: a book I’ve heard marvellous things about. I had no initial intent on buying this book, but it was a good price for the used copy and something suddenly inspired me to read it. This is another BIG book, which might come back to bite me later on when I am half done every single one of the books on this list and then suddenly it is January 1st… Although, even if that happens, I think I am okay with that.

Song of the Dryad by Natalia Leigh

Song of the Dryad by Natalia Leigh

Okay, this is a book I do not plan on finishing in 2020, but I really want to start it over Christmas break. I bought the ebook version (because I have been led to believe I am getting a Kindle for Christmas…) over Black Friday because I have been meaning to pick up this book. Natalia Leigh is an author and also a YouTuber (AuthorTuber) who I have been watching for years. I thought it was about time to support her writing and I am also just excited to see what I think of this book! Maybe I will even do a book review. We will see.


Those are all the books I plan on finishing, or at least will try to finish, before the new year. I am really excited to have more time to spend on reading because at first, I neglected it because I was in a slump and then I neglected it because I was just too busy! I want to end the year on a positive and productive note by spending time doing what I love, which is reading, in the hopes it will start 2021 on a positive note as well.

Make sure you check out recent blog post and follow me on social media; the links are all down below. Also, don’t forget to let me know what books you plan on reading this month! Thanks for reading 🙂

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My Anticipated Releases

My anticipated releases before the end of the year!

Happy Monday!

Sorry for the little hiatus again!

ANNOUCEMENT: In celebration of NaNoWriMo being (almost) over, I am once again offering 10% off any one editing service when you book for or during December. Take advantage of the discount HERE as well as my free 10-page sample edit if you are interested.

In a quick update, I am behind on NaNoWriMo but I am 23k into my first draft so it is not a complete fail at least. On the reading side of things, I have been chugging along with Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare and am just over 500 pages into it. Since the end is in sight, I thought it would be fitting to talk about my anticipated releases for the rest of this year (which is almost over?!) because these are likely to be some of the next few books I will pick up.

Here are my anticipated releases for the rest of 2020.

Inanna’s Bargain by Claire Sulos

I am a sucker for any mythology, ancient civilization-inspired fantasy which is why this book grabbed my attention. Also, the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Inanna’s Bargain is a historical fantasy novel set in Mesopotamia during 2,284 BCE. I have not read any Mesopotamia-inspired fiction, so I am super excited to get my hands on this book. It actually came out this past Saturday, so if you are interested in it as well, you can check it out HERE. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Inanna, the goddess of love and war, sends our main characters who are half-siblings, Samri (a priestess of Inanna) and Kianu (a gala priest) to act as aid when a dire threat from the north appears. However, it is not a smooth journey to reach their king, and along the way, they encounter thieves, kidnappers, hybrids beasts, and much more. While their journey is dangerous, the two siblings grow closer along the way and this adventure-filled story highlights their love and familial bond for one another.

I cannot wait to read this book and it is not very long (298 pages), so I can already see myself flying through this story!

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

I did not register that this book is coming out in less than 10 days…and I haven’t re-read the second or third book in forever. I am not prepared! The past few days I have been juggling back and forth with the ideas of just reading/watching summaries on the series and then diving into it when it releases, OR re-reading the entire series first. The last few days of November will be crazy though, and part of December as well with school wrapping up so I don’t know what to do! Regardless, this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 hands down.

The first book, An Ember in the Ashes, follows Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier in this Roman-inspired militaristic empire. When Laia’s grandparents are killed and her brother kidnapped by the empire, Laia sets out to save him, disguising herself as a slave at the martial school in order to spy for the resistance that promises her brother’s freedom in exchange. There, she meets Elias, one of the best soldiers at the school but deep down, he dreams of being free of its chains. Eventually, their destinies intertwine and together, they threaten the entire age of tyranny they live in.

I love this series and I have since the first book came out four years ago. I cannot believe it is coming to an end but I am eager to see what happens! I follow Sabaa Tahir on Instagram and I already know she will not be easy on her readers.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)

This is another book that is already out; it came out earlier this week on Tuesday, I think, and also has such a stunning cover. I hadn’t heard much about it until recently, but once I did, I was really intrigued. When the Goodreads description said that it was “perfect for fans of the The Last Magician” I was like “that’s me!”…even though I haven’t read the sequel yet. This book has gangs and fueds and bloodshed and just sounds so good! I also believe it is inspired by Romeo and Juliet? I remember hearing the author doesn’t like the play so I am curious to see how that is transferred into the book.

For whatever reason, I had hard time putting this book into my own words so here is the Goodreads description:

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.


Those are three books that have recently come out, or are about to come out, that I cannot wait to get my hands on! Hopefully, you are also excited for them and if you have any other anticipated releases, please share them in the comments below!

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: NaNoWriMo 2020 Strategy

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6 Books I Want to Read This Summer

6 books on my summer reading list and 4 tips to help get out of a reading slump

Happy Friday!

***Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to shoutout my Patreon that I recently launched. You can check out all the goodies I am offering HERE, or scroll down and click on the Patreon icon at the very bottom of the page. Thanks 🙂

This summer has been a looong one for all of us. I mean, I was supposed to finish school at the end of April and have a 4 month summer (which is very long in itself) but because of COVID-19, summer will be almost 6 months! You think with all that time, I would have read dozens of books by now. It has been 3 1/2 months at this point, yet, how many books have I read? 9!

I have not finished a book since the beginning of May, but I am over halfway through Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron. I am happy to report that I will definitely finish this YA fantasy and I am hoping it will encourage me to get back into the swing of reading since the annual Reading Rush is coming up and I want to participate in that (I will be sharing my TBR on Instagram so follow me @zoeiswriting).

And since I have been doing so many writing and creative entrepreneur-related blog posts, I realized it is time to talk about books! Even if I am not reading a lot right now.

Here are 6 books I want to read this summer.

1. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

The Demon King, by Cinda Williams Chima | Fantasy books, Fantasy ...

I am in the mood for some good ol’ fantasy, so when I was at the bookstore, I decided to pick up The Demon King. I know this is a spinoff (?) series in the world that another one of her series takes place in but you can read this series without reading those other books. However, I realized I own The Warrior King (the first book in that other series)! Maybe I will give that a read after The Demon King because for whatever reason, The Demon King is calling out to me. Do I know what it is about? Nope! But nonetheless, I am excited to dive into it sometime this summer. Let me know if you have read this book, or any of her others books in this world, and what you thought about them.

2. Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

Vengeful: Schwab, V. E.: 9780765387523: Books - Amazon.ca

One of my goals this summer is to find Vicious, the first book in this series, and buy it because that is one GOOD book. I also want to pick up the long awaited sequel, Vengeful because I know it will be just as good, if not better. When I think about Vicious, I get chills. It is one of those books that even none readers will love so if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.

In the first book, we follow Victor and Eli who are college roommates and both intelligent and ambitious characters. In their final year, they become fascinated with near-death experiences and supernatural events after experiencing some odd things in their own lives, and realize they have the power to give each other extraordinary abilities. But no one human should wield this type of power, and it is no surprise when things go extremely wrong. The book then jumps 10 years into the future and we follow the fight between Eli, who wants to be the only superhuman in the world, and Victor. Who will survive and whose ability will become their undoing?

3. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn: The Final Empire: Sanderson, Brandon: 8601419297900 ...

To be honest, I cannot even tell you how long this book has been on my shelf. I know it is time to finally read it, not only because I have heard nothing but good things about it, and also because I need to get around to reading a Brandon Sanderson book. One reason I have put off reading this book is because I own the mass market paperback edition (it was super cheap, okay!). However, I have glasses for a reason! It is time to buckle up and dive into this long book. Once again, I have no idea what it is about, but I am very excited for some classic high fantasy.

4. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: 9781524798642 ...

I know, I know. I’ve read this book two times already THIS year, but it is just so good. Also, I had no idea it was becoming a TV show! It already has a cast too and I am in love with it. Ever since I found out this exciting news, I have been itching to re-read it. I would have done it sooner, but I leant it to be boyfriend a few months ago and couldn’t get it back until I went and visited him 3 weeks ago. But now I have it back and it has been very tempting to re-read.

Daisy Jones and the Six is written in interview format and follows the rise and fall of a fictional band from the 70s (it is based off of Fleetwood Mac). If you are a music fan, especially a fan of rock from the 70s/80s, I highly recommend this book.

5. A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

A Touch of Death (The Outlands Pentalogy #1) by Rebecca Crunden

This is a book I’ve spoken about in the past because I was given it for review about a month ago. Since I’ve been in a reading slump, I haven’t gotten around to it yet unfortunately, but I want to get to it sometime this summer. This is a dystopian YA novel and takes place a thousand years in the future where humanity lives behind the walls of a totalitarian Kingdom. This is a genre I haven’t read in a while. I hope I love this book and it gets me back into re-reading some of my dystopian favourites since there hasn’t been too much dystopian releasing lately!

6. The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

The Devil's Thief (The Last Magician, #2) by Lisa Maxwell

Back in April I read the first book, The Last Magician and I loved it, so I am looking forward to finally reading the sequel, The Devil’s Thief. This series takes place in New York during the 1920s, which means the atmosphere is amazing. There is magic and morally grey characters and deception…some of my favourite things to read about. My local library is opening back up in August which is very exciting and I hope that they have this book for me to borrow!


Before I can dive into this books, however, I have to break out of my horrible reading slump. It is like I am rising out of it slowly, because I feel that desire to read deep down…but I am getting distracted by other things too easily.

Here are some things I am doing to get myself out of this reading slump:

  • Make time to read a little every day (15-30 pages)
  • Abandon books I don’t want to read and only reading what I want to
  • Not pressure myself to read
  • Do other things I enjoy like writing, working out, and listening to music

Those are all the books I want to read during these last 2 months of summer and before the school year begins in full swing. Let me know in the comments below what books you want to get read in July and August, because I would love to know!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts and Patreon below. Thanks for reading 🙂

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6 Books By Black Authors I NEED to Read

It is important to always support black creators – start by checking out this list of 6 novels written about black characters by black authors.

Happy Wednesday!

With everything going on in our world, it felt wrong to not use my platform to spread awareness regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and the injustices committed by police against black people. It is important to shout out black creators during this time, which is why I am using my platform where I discuss reading and writing to highlight the amazing black writers in our community.

I recognize that this is not enough and that there is more to be done. That is why I am including some resources at the end of this blog post for you, especially other allies like myself, to explore. There are petitions that need signatures and donations and information on this movement to educate yourself on.

This week, I took a look at my bookshelf and was embarrassed by how many books on it were written by black authors. It is nowhere near enough and I want to make it a priority to support black authors not only right now when social media is blasting this movement, but always. When reading a book, I always expect a diverse cast but rarely do I consider the person writing the cast. I need to change that and this is the beginning of that change. Please let me know if there are any others I should read because I am always looking for more recommendations.

Let’s get into this!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give: Amazon.ca: Thomas, Angie: Books

There is no excuse for me not having read this book yet. From what I know about this popular novel is that it is extremely relevant to what is going on now. Apart from being an educating read on racism in the police force against black people, I have heard from numerous reviews that Angie Thomas is an incredible writer and storyteller. I am expecting a powerful and emotional read, and I plan on getting my hands on this story ASAP.

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

When I was researching young adult novels by black authors to read, so many came up that I have never heard about. I am always on BookTube or book blogs or on Instagram where I yes, follow book accounts, but still have never seen books like Kingdom of Souls talked about. I have been in the mood for fantasy lately so the synopsis of this book immediately caught my eye having to do with witches and our main character awaking her ancestral powers to stop a demon king. I am hoping my library has the ebook copy but if not, I will just purchase it from my local bookstore because I am craving more magical stories. Especially ones focused on black main characters because we don’t see that as much as we should.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin : Nic Stone (author) : 9781471175565 : Blackwell's

When this book came out, there was so much buzz but I never picked it up. I remember seeing it on every BookTube channel, Instagram account, and even on the podcasts I listen to. Yet, I NEVER read it. This is another book extremely relevant to what is happening now, just as all these books are extremely relevant to today. Dear Martin follows our main character, Justyce who is a victim of police brutality. He is an excellent student with Ivy League in his future, and one day, he decides to explore the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and dives into how they hold up today. Once again, I know this will be a powerful story, and I am hoping to get to it soon because not only do I want to read it, but I need to.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Another important read due to today’s challenges and injustices forced on the black community. Tyler Johnson Was Here deals with the wrongful shooting and killing of Tyler Johnson by a police officer that forces our main character, Marvin, to grieve his twin brother’s death and learn what justice and freedom mean in our corrupt world today. This book tells a story that is reality for many black people which is why it is crucial for me and other allies to read. I cannot even imagine how real this book is for some people, and I hope through reading this, I will learn more about the injustices others face that I do not.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Pride: Amazon.ca: Zoboi, Ibi: Books

I love the idea of a rejuvenated re-telling of Pride and Prejudice and that is exactly what this book is. Zuri is Afro-Latino and lives in Brooklyn, and while she has a lot of pride for her community, it is not enough to preserve her neighborhood that is rapidly becoming one she doesn’t recognize. One day, the Darcy family moves in across the street and due to her sister falling for one of the Darcy’s children, Zuri must find a common ground with one of their son’s, Darius. This book is filled with cultural identity, discussions on class, and first love. I am looking forward to reading this one soon! I have never read a Pride and Prejudice re-telling and I am glad this is going to be the first.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Even though this book came out last March, I have heard a lot about it recently and I am glad it is getting more hype. Here is me re-introducing it, or introducing it into your life! This sounds like such an adorable and charming book, but also a little sad. It follows the story of Jack and Kate; how they met and their time together as they grew closer…but then Kate dies. Her death forces Jack to look back on their entire relationship and when an opportunity to save her arises, he jumps at the chance to take it. However, something like that will have consequences and it may be on someone else that he loves. Ugh, this sounds so good and I am intrigued to see where the author takes the story!


RESOURCES:

#DefundThePolice

Justice for George Floyd

National Bail Out

Black Visions Collective

Those are 6 books by black authors that I NEED to read. If you have any other recommendations please let me know in the comments. I hope you enjoyed and will consider adding a few of these to your own TBR!

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 🙂

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June Reading + Writing Goals

Happy Friday!

Both April and May have flown by, and now we are right on June’s doorstep which is crazy, but also why I am here with my reading and writing goals for June. I am keeping the load light however because once I finish my current projects (which I should in early June), my mind and body need a break from my computer.

Besides, May was very productive work-wise for me! However, I did not stick to any of my original May goals because a bunch of unexpected opportunities arose that I could not pass up. In order to take them, I had to set some of my own projects to the back burner because of it, but that’s okay. I know I will pick them up sometime this summer. Nonetheless, May was busy and productive and I am hoping to carry that into June.

Anyways, onto my June goals!

Finish Re-Typing

Deadline Goal: June 12

This is a 344-page project I have been working on for a client since May 7th, and it has definitely taken me a lot longer than I expected. However, I am trying to re-type 15 pages a day which will let me finish when I hope to…as long as I don’t stray too far from that daily page goal. Sometimes I can’t hit that goal though. Last night, I had a lot of troubling focusing so I only typed 10. I am not too worried because in the past, I’ve been able to catch up and I know I can do it again. Regardless, I am excited to get this done.

Finish Outlining Act III of “The Obsidian Butterfly”

Deadline Goal: June 14

I am horrible at finishing outlines, which is why I want to sit down and just finish this novel idea. I already have Act I and II done, so why didn’t I just finish Act III? No idea. To be honest, I do not know where Act III will take me which is probably why I haven’t planned it out yet. I want to end this story differently in the novel than I did in the novella version since I will have more room to expand the ending and I want to explore all the possibilities.

Write 10,000 Words Towards “The Obsidian Butterfly”

Deadline Goal: June 30

My goal was to write 50,000 words of this back in May and yeah, that did not happen! I think I made it to around 7,000 though, so at least that is something. In June, I would really like to make some more progress in this story. If I could get just 10,000 words down during June, that’s 2,000 words per week which in my mind, is a reasonable amount. However, if I don’t get that much, I just hope I finish outlining it!

Write 2 Articles for Flanelle Magazine

Deadline Goal #1: June 14

Deadline Goal #2: June 30

Last month, I only contributed one article to Flanelle Magazine which is a magazine I write for if you didn’t know (check it out HERE). They do not take me that long to do so I want to aim to get two out this coming month. Really, I just spend one day planning it out and then pitch the idea to my editor-in-chief. When she emails me back the following day with the okay, I write the first draft and go over it several times before sending it back to her. Overall, the process is two to three days. I love writing for this magazine and want to make sure it doesn’t fall to the side of all my other projects!

Read 3 Books

If you read my May Wrap-Up + June TBR (click HERE to read it), you will know I had a horrible reading month! In June, I really want to get back into the swing of reading and knock some books off my TBR, but I also don’t want to overwhelm myself. I am thinking that three books is a good goal. It is not too many books, but also not too little. Fingers crossed this is an easy goal to check off the goal list!


Those are all my goals for June and I hope you enjoyed reading through them! Hopefully, they inspired you to map out some goals you have for June. If you already have some goals outlined, drop them in the comments below because I’d love to know what they are.

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked own below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: May Wrap-Up + June TBR

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5 Tips for Writing Short Stories

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Happy Friday!

Today, I wanted to share some of my tips and tricks for writing short stories. I recently finished writing a novella about a month or so ago, and it reminded me how careful and particular short story writing is. It is hard to know what to cut and how deep to dive into your world and characters.

Hopefully, this blog post can give you some insight into that!

#1: Don’t Fit 100,000 Words Into 2,000

This tip is especially important if you are writing fantasy. I always attempt to write fantasy short stories, which are the hardest to write, and I have to remind myself that I am only focusing on one or two specific incidents/events. Unlike a novel, you do not have to have a huge cast of characters or an in-depth explanation of the world, magic system, and history. Yes, you need to touch on those things in your short story, but they are not the main focus. The main focuses are the plot point of the short story (which can consist of one or two major events) and your main character. Maybe a second character as well.

The point is, you and your reader know and understand that this is a short story. It is not meant to explain everything, nor should it!

#2: You Should Know Everything

Going along with the first tip, just because your reader doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you don’t. You are the storyteller, the writer, you MUST know every little aspect of your story, its world, the characters, etc for your story to work. Even if you don’t mention it in the story ever, your readers will notice something is off or missing.

Another reason I like to plan out everything, even if it doesn’t make it into the draft, is because if I decide the story could become a longer piece one day, I have most of the info already. Yes, some tweaking and adding to the outline will occur, but this way, you already have a strong foundation for a novel.

#3: Is Your Story Character-Based or Plot-Based?

While it is important to showcase both the plot and characters in every story, most tend to lean to one side more than the other. This is very helpful to determine in short story writing before you jump into drafting because it helps you know what to focus on. That way, in your short amount of time, you use your limited word count to make the characters or the plot shine.

Now, that does not mean you completely push off the one you aren’t as focused on. No, no, no. Both are still crucial elements to the story, but you are just figuring out where your strength and focus should be. You still need to thoughtfully plan on both aspects and showcase them in your story.

#4: Over-Write

I highly recommend over-writing when it comes to short story writing because this will ensure you aren’t leaving any important details out, which can happen in short stories. Personally, I usually write thousands of words over my target word limit (which I don’t always recommend), but it means I have gotten everything I needed to say for that story out onto the page. That way, when it comes to editing, I will read through the story and figure out what are the important and necessary pieces that need to stay.

Over-writing also means that I don’t need to add many more words (if any at all) because I got all the words on the page already.

#5: Editing Will Teach You How to Write Your Next Short Story

While every story is different both writing and editing wise, whenever I edit a short story, it helps me understand what to include and what not to include in my next one. It will show me that I focus on too much meaningless description because oh yes, I am cutting a whole paragraph describing the green hills out of a page…again.

Pay attention when you’re editing. Take note of what you are cutting out and what you find yourself cutting out over and over again. Most likely, these writing habits will transfer into your next short story or novel too. It can help save time and wrist strength!


These are my five short story writing tips and I hope you found them helpful! Let me know what your short story tips are below, or just any writing tips in general so we can help each other out 🙂

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: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – Non-Spoiler Book Review

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig – Non-Spoiler Book Review

My non-spoiler thoughts and opinions on House of Salt and Sorrow: a dark fantasy inspired by the Brothers Grimm’s story, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”

Happy Wednesday!

After reading House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig and not hearing too much buzz about it online, I decided to write a non-spoiler review in case it sounds like something you would be interested in picking up.

This is a young adult book inspired by the story of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and it released in August of 2019. I loved this story when I was younger so I was very intrigued and interested in picking up this book. Here is a quick synopsis of the book in case you have never heard of it:

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House of Salt and Sorrows follows Annaleigh who is one of eleven other sisters, the princesses of the Salann Islands. Once again, she finds herself at a funeral for another one of her sisters and now, only eight remain after the supposed curse that affects her family takes another. 

When Annaleigh becomes swarmed by gruesome, ghostly visions and her sisters begin disappearing to balls in the middle of the night in places unheard of, she begins to wonder if it really is a curse that killed her sisters, or if something dark is at play. She must discover the truth before death takes another one of her sisters, or finally takes her. 

I will not lie, my expectations were fairly high going into this book and while I liked it, it did not live up to my hype. However, I did enjoy my time reading it and had a lot of fun! There were strong aspects of the story and some weak ones as there always are, and I was happy to have a story featuring one of my favourite fairytales.

The first thing I want to comment on is the cover because I think it is GORGEOUS. I love covers with the ocean on them and this is covered in pretty shells and various shades of blue. Definitely worth the purchase to showcase on my shelves! I also love how it has octopi tentacles to allude to the darker elements of the story…very nice touch.

When I skimmed Goodreads reviews of this book, I noted that a few talked about how creepy the story was. Now, I do not get creeped out or spooked often, but they were right, towards the end of the book, the story took a dark twist that I enjoyed. Some parts made my skin crawl and I was pleasantly surprised that a book could still do that to me. This was mostly towards the end, but the whole book does have dark elements that I personally enjoy most. Towards the end of the book was also when the story had me the most interested.

The story was its strongest aspect. While it did fall flat at times, overall, I was curious to see how it ended. This kept me flipping the page and each time, wondering who would be the curse’s next victim and also who was the mastermind behind this all. Once the balls came into place too, I wanted to know more about them. The mystery aspect was what allowed me to hold on during all 400 pages and get through them in only a few days.

Honestly, I did like the world because of the role their gods played in it. I thought it was unique compared to other books and I enjoyed learning about the religion. We didn’t dive too deep into it, however, so I would have liked to see more of that. I also would have enjoyed more description of the world, but the bit that we did get intrigued me.

Sadly, the scenes at the balls failed my expectations. This was what I was most excited for but I felt like the explanation for it at the end of the story was rushed. It was an interesting take though, but if it had more development and thought put into it, it would have greatly benefited. Ugh, it is hard describing this without giving away spoilers!

The characters did suffer I think, because of the large cast of them that we followed. Some authors can pull this off, obviously, like Rick Riordan or Cassandra Clare, but in House of Salt and Sorrow, no character really stuck out to me. Annaleigh is our main character and the point of view we follow, and sometimes, I could feel her growing stronger but then some cliche plot point or stereotypical aspect would crush any growth or interest I was developing towards her. The sisters were the same. They were a very large part of the book yet I felt they all blurred together with only a few shining moments here and there. But, most of all, the side characters suffered. I do not even think I can mention any of there names. Even if they appeared multiple times, I honestly felt like most of them could have been cut without any loss to the story.

There was a romance in this book but…honestly, I am not even going to say much about it. All I will say is that I thought the author was going to take it one way, which would have been very refreshing to see, but then she didn’t and I was disappointed because of that.

My biggest complaint about this book was the lack of diversity. I mean, it is 2020! Maybe there was a person of colour in here, but they were not prominent enough for me to notice. The lack of diversity made me feel distant towards the book and since I realized it very early on, I had a hard time looking past that for the whole novel. It really impacted my time with it and I just wish that books published now would include something as realistic and necessary as diversity.

Overall, I would give this book 3/5 stars. It was satisfying enough but there was so much more potential for this story and world that I would have loved to see. I did like the dark mystery and fantasy vibe it had going, but I wanted more!


There is my NON-SPOILER review on House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. I hope you enjoyed! If you have read it, let me know what your thoughts were in the comments below.

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: Day-in-my-life: Quarantine Edition

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Day-in-my-life: Quarantine Edition

An insight into my day-to-day and how I stay sane during the chaos.

Happy Monday!

Personally, I am a huge fan of day-in-the-life posts and vlogs, which is why I am bringing to you my very own day-in-the-life: quarantine edition post. This will take you through a usual day-in-my-life and what I do to keep busy and stay sane.

Let’s get into it!

7:30 am – Wake Up

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When I do not have a lot of projects I am working on, I will let myself stay in bed or sleep in until 8:30, however, for the past week, that has not been the case. I am crazy busy and find that I need to have an early start to the day because that is when I am most productive.

I go on my phone (bad habit, I know) for about 30 minutes and then get up to make some coffee. After I brewed a nice BIG cup, I will head back to my bedroom (aka my office), open my windows and sit down with my current read for about an hour. Lately, I have been a little distracted in the mornings, but regardless, I sit down with a book until 9 am.

9:00 am – Planning My Day

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Sometimes I plan my day the night before, but lately, I have switched it up and plan in the morning instead. I write my to-do list in my bullet journal and respond to some emails. I also set up my work area, get some water and just ready myself for a productive next two and a half to three hours.

It is nice to take advantage of my newfound free time during quarantine because before, I did not have the luxury of working on my own projects in the mornings because I would be at school. Now, I have 9 am – 12 pm to dedicate to my writing which is great.

9:30 am – Time to Work

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I did try starting my workday at 9 am, but I realized I wanted some more time in the morning for myself so I start at 9:30 am instead. If it is a day I have a blog post going up (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), I will begin with that. I write my posts the day they go up, edit them, and then get images, hashtags, and other behind-the-scenes things in place. Once that is done (usually around 10:30 am, depending on the post), I will schedule it to go up at 12 pm PST. Once I finish, I usually make some breakfast.

If I do not have a blog post scheduled for that day, I will begin my day with whatever writing-related projects I have on the go. Or, I will get to work on them after finishing up all my blog-related tasks. Usually, that is writing my own writing projects like right now I am working on turning my Aztec novella into a novel. I try to write 1,000 words a day but currently, I am a bit behind schedule. I am not beating myself up too much though because I have a lot of projects on the go and as long as I am contributing to it every week, I consider that a win. Another writing project I do often is write my articles for Flanelle Magazine because I am a writer there. You can check out my latest post on their website, “COVID-19: How is the entertainment industry adapting?” by clicking RIGHT HERE.

Lately, I have had a lot of paid projects on the go too. In March, I was editing a client’s biography and now I am re-typing someone’s novel which I can’t say too much more about. It is fun integrating these into my morning writing-related routine. It helps to keep things fresh and motivates me to get more done in the mornings.

12:00 pm – Workout

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I am always working until the very last minute, sometimes even writing close to 12:30 pm but I try really hard not to do that and cut myself off at 12:10 pm so I can get my body moving for the first time that day. Luckily, I have gotten into a pretty good workout routine. I workout 5-6 times a week and alternate my routine every day so I don’t get bored of it.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do a harder and longer workout. I typically spin for 20-30 minutes, spend 15-20 minutes on my arms or legs (depending what week it is), and then do two or so ab workouts by following a video online (usually one on Chloe Ting’s YouTube channel).

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, I cut this routine in half and only spend around 25-30 minutes on my workout.

I know this is weird, but I love watching YouTube videos when I spin or use my rowing machine. Usually, day-in-the-life’s. It just motivates me to be productive during and after my workout, and it allows me to catch up on YouTube videos without taking time out of my workday.

Multitasking at it’s finest, I say.

1:30 pm – Lunch, Shower & Finally Get Ready for the Day

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I like to give myself a generous break in the early afternoon and will take until 3:00 pm to eat, get ready, and relax before jumping into more work. It varies what I will do but some common things are taking a walk, reading, watching Netflix, or yes, watching more YouTube videos.

It is important to take a break!

Although, if I have any calls or video chats I need to do, I will try and schedule them between 2 pm and 3 pm so my break gets cut a little short.

3:00 pm – Course Work

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If you didn’t know, I paid for a full-year membership on Coursera to explore courses that my university does not offer like digital marketing, graphic design, social media marketing, etc, etc. So far, I have been really enjoying it.

Right now, I am taking The Strategy of Content Marketing, Personal Branding, Digital Media & Marketing Strategies, and Marketing in a Digital World. I alternate which days I work on them because again, it helps things not to feel stale. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are for Digital Media and Marketing in a Digital World because those are my most heavy courses. And then Tuesdays and Thursdays are for the other courses which tend to be a little less intensive.

Rarely do I have to do a little extra after 6 pm or on Saturday because I try really hard to give myself the evenings and Saturday off! However, sometimes I save a small assignment or quiz that I save for t hen.

6:00 pm – Dinner, Socialize & Relax

Finally, we have reached the end of my workday!  Here is a list of what I spend my time doing from 6 pm to when I go to bed at 11:00 pm:

  • Eat dinner with my family
  • FaceTime my boyfriend and friends
  • Take a bath and read
  • Watch Netflix
  • Organize my room
  • Play video games
  • Bullet journaling

The weather has been so nice the last few days and we recently hung up our porch lights so I have been spending some evenings out there, reading or just listening to music too.

 

On Sundays, it is a bit different because I work from 11am – 5pm and then work on Coursera tasks for a few hours in the evening. Not too many writing-related tasks get done though.


There you have it! That is a day-in-my-life: quarantine edition and I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know in the comments what a typical day in your life looks like because I’d love to know.

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: 5 Outlining Tips for Pantsers

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