Sunday, March 31, 2013

Introducing The Fifty Followers Mini Giveaway!

 Happy Resurrection day ya'll! Many years ago, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ died for everyone's sin so they could go to Heaven to be with Him one day. Three days later, He was raised from the dead! Praise the Lord! I hope all of you have a wonderful day remembering what He did for you.

 Recently, I noticed that my blog followers hit 50! So I present you with...

That's right. I'm going to host my very own (mini) giveaway in celebration! 50 followers might not seem like much to some folks, but considering that my only follower for a while was my cousin- who I love dearly- it's a big deal to me! Right now, I'm looking into finding suitable giveaway materials through etsy, and my library, etc. If you would like to donate something, or know someone who would, just let me know. 

 This giveaway is being offered to followers of my blog- I love you all! If you would like to be eligible for this giveaway when it's ready- hopefully this coming month- just click the join this site button under followers, and you'll be eligible too. Keep your eyes pealed! I'm excited! :D

 Thanks for reading!

~ a rambling author

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ten Questions {Blog hop}

 My friend Emily Rachelle from Emily Rachelle Writes has tagged me in this Ten Questions blog hop! Thanks Emily!

In this blog hop, I answer ten questions about my current work in progress. This reminds me of The Next Big Thing blog hop  I participated in a couple months ago. For that blog hop, I answered ten questions about 'Baby, It's Cold Outside.' This time, I've decided to use the story I've been working on the longest- my favorite story: The Prince's Quest.

1: What is the working title of your book?

 The Prince's Quest. :)

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

The initial idea for this book came when I joined . Many people use this website to post their books and stories. I wanted to post something, but I didn't want to share any of my writing projects because I was thinking of publication in the future. So, I came up with an idea. I only posted one scene of the story on Wattpad, and if you care to look, here's a link to it.

3: What genre does your book come under?

 Medieval fantasy. :D

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Humm... This one could be a little hard...

For Elric, my main character, I've had a tough time finding a good match, but I think Luke Benward fits him pretty well.

Anya was also hard to find. (Go figure.) She's supposed to be a very innocent looking girl with blond hair and brown eyes. I decided Annasophia Robb is the closest I'm going to get.

Boy, it's hard to find all of these. :P For Winston... maybe Jonah Hill.

 For Rior who would be a better fit for this crazed carriage driver with a glass eye, then Jim Carrey? Teehee.


And for Arran, the talented younger brother... I think a youngish William Moseley will suffice.


My last one... King Rath... and I'll use Hugh Laurie!


5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

A prince goes on a quest to find a traitor to avoid his father's wrath, but finds more then he bargained for when he meets a sweet girl who stands in his way. (Not very good, but I just wrote it now. :P)

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

 The Prince's Quest is nearing completion of it's first draft. I hope to find an agent and publisher to represent this book.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 Still writing it, off and on. It's been to the side a couple of times, for other projects, but I keep coming back. I started it in November of 2011. It's almost done!!!

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

 This is a hard thing to decide. I'm not very good at comparing my stories to other writer's.

  Perhaps, Jill Williamson's Blood of King's, and Wayne Thomas Batson's The Dark Sea Annals.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

 I had a scene in my head of a prince looking for a girl who he'd betrayed somehow. I wanted something to write for NaNoWriMo 2011. I wrote the above mentioned scene before then, but things changed when I wrote the actually story. Annalise became Anya, Tomas became Winston, and the story changed from first person to third. Not to mention many writing changes.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

 This story has so much in it. From a bookish prince, secrets, adventure, fights with giant wolves, kidnappings, and a hint of romance, I hope lots of people will be able to enjoy it.

You can follow my pinterest board for it, where I post occasional pictures I find to fit into the story.

 I also post bits and pieces, and fun stuff on the book's Facebook page.

And that's all. I hope you enjoyed it! Now I've got to tag five people...

Heather at My Writing Desk'

Leah at Apassionata

Rosie at Writings of Rosie

Sky at Further Up and Further In

Rachelle at Inspiring Daring

Thanks for reading!

~ a rambling author

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson: What it Means to Write a Bad First Draft and a Giveaway!

by Stephanie Morrill

You've likely heard writers talk about writing "bad first drafts." This is something I first learned about in Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, the idea that you can make more progress in writing by not worrying about every teensy-tiny detail and editing each scene until it's perfect, but instead by writing a bare bones first draft and then going back to revise.

Not all writers do this, but for those of us who write bad firsts, I think it begs the question of, "How bad can a useful first draft be?"

The bones of the story should be there on the page.

When you finish your first draft, the elements of the story should be there. Maybe a couple characters are flat, that plot twist isn't quite there yet, and the ending is rushed, but you should have something you can work with and shape. Like a lump of Play-Doh that you're trying to mold - the Play Doh has to be there before you can make it into anything. Maybe your character's black moment still needs to be darker but you should have what you need to shape it into a black moment.

If the story bones aren't there yet, then your first priority should be to write them. Because you don't want to spend a bunch of time tweaking descriptions of your main character's school if you haven't yet figured out how your story is going to end.

It should be a length you can work with.

Some writers are putter-inners and some are taker-outers. By which I mean some naturally write long and have to cut back their words and others write bare bones and have to go in and flesh out their stories. If you're writing in hopes of getting published, you'll need to pay attention to what word count you want to hit, and then figure out where your first draft needs to be.

I'm a putter-inner. So I know that if I want my book to be 90,000 words, I need a first draft around 77 to 80,000 words long. My friend Roseanna White is a taker-outer so for a first draft of 100,000 words, she knows she needs to reign herself in around 110,000 or so.

You should still like the story.

When I finish a first draft, I usually feel pretty drained. I've been pushing myself hard to finish, and I'm ready for a break. I try to take six weeks off after my first draft. When I come back to it, I need to still like it. I see lots of things that need fixing, but I should also see promise and feel excited about edits. If I don't, I'm in trouble.

This has only happened to me once where I finished a first draft, reread it six weeks later, and had a good long cry because the book was just so bad. I put the book away and I've never pulled it back out. During that six weeks off, I had the idea for Me, Just Different, and I saw a lot more promise in it than I did this other story. I decided not to torture myself with edits for this other book, to move on to Skylar and Connor, and I've never regretted it.

So what can be bad?

So what elements of a first draft are okay to be really, truly bad? Here's a list of what typically needs the most work in my edits:
  • My prose. I'm a dialogue girl, so my dialogue is normally decent but my prose needs a lot of smoothing. You might be the opposite.
  • The voice of my "other" characters. They usually all sound the same, like afterthoughts.
  • Drab action beats. My characters do a lot of smiling, sighing, and chuckling in first drafts. I have to clean all that up.
  • Lame twists or surprises. Sometimes I come up with something great in the first draft, but more often than not, I have to work for a more unique twist or surprise connection in the second draft.
  • A rushed pace. Again, I'm a putter-inner, so I typically have a manuscript that sounds very rushed. I have to slow things down and describe more in my second drafts.
Edits can feel overwhelming, but it's become one of my favorite parts of the writing process, and the same goes for Jill too. Which is why we felt drawn to writing a book to help with edits, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Novel. Today we're giving away a free download of the book! You can enter to win by using the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson have written a combined two dozen speculative and contemporary novels for teens. They also blog obsessively at When not writing or blogging, they can be found at the teen table at writer's conferences or wherever chocolate is being given away. Come hang out with Stephanie at and Jill at>

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Coming Up!

Okay, today's post is an update, because tomorrow I have the pleasure of hosting Stephanie Morrill! Come back tomorrow to learn more about Stephanie Morrill, Jill Williamson, and their new book!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


 Last Friday, I had my birthday. I left the year of sixteen behind. I had time to think about it, mull over it. Every birthday I think about how another year has gone by, and in such a fast way. Honestly, it can be a tad bit depressing, especially if you haven't accomplished all that you desired to. But it can also be wonderful. And I enjoyed thinking of all the things that the Lord did for me in my sixteenth year.

 I became an aunt. This is the most wonderful thing. I've always loved babies, and little children, but you never connect with someone the same as you would if you're related to them. And little Rachel Marie is just a doll baby.

I joined Go Teen Writers. My writing has improved drastically, I'm sure, since I joined this wonderful writing site for teens. I've also found so much encouragement and friends through their Facebook group. I'm so glad I found them!

I got to 50,000 words for the first time in a WIP.  This is a big deal for me. 50K is A LOT of words. And thanks to Go Teen Writers, and what I hope was hard work, I managed to get past the 50K mark. This year, I'm shooting to finish a book. ;)

I joined CYT. CYT is Christian Youth Theater, and it was one of my dreams to go there since 2009. Last fall the dream finally came true, when I auditioned, and got into The Little Mermaid.

I made new friends.  This is a culminations of many things. I met people through GTW, CYT, and my local theater group. God has blessed me with a rich crop of friends in my life, and I can't think where I would be without them.

I got my first solo. I'm playing Glinda and Auntie Em in my local theater's production of Wizard of Oz (with new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber.). I have two solos, and since I love to sing, it's something I was hoping to get to do someday.

I learned more about God. This is the most important change that's happened in my life. Drawing closer to the Lord is more important then anything, and I just love to learn more about my Savior, and be able to share His love with others!

 I've probably missed some of the changes that have taken place in my life. There have been good, there have been bad. But the good far outweigh the bad, and I am so so thankful to God for every door he's opened for me this past year. Sixteen was a wonderful year, and I'm so excited to see what God has in store for seventeen.

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Prince's Quest: Sneak Peek

 Hello everyone! I know I promised a post last Friday, but life got away from me. It's tech week for The Wizard of Oz, so I've been a bit swamped. Anyway, on my book's Facebook page, I asked if anyone would be interested in a bit of a sneak peek of The Prince's Quest. So here it is. This is the prologue. It hasn't been through official editing, and was written over a year ago, so has many things to be fixed- it has lots of -ly words. But I hope you will enjoy anyway!

 Without further ado, I present the prologue to The Prince's Quest.

“Your highness?” Prince Elric turned towards the husky voice that called for his attention. “The girls have been gathered.”
The young man nodded, staring into the distance. “I’m coming,” he said slowly, distinctly.
“Very good, sire,” the manservant said, bowing slightly before exiting the royal’s chambers.
The prince adjusted the shoulders of his deep blue tunic, leaving the skirt of the fabric to rest above the knees of his brown breeches. Straightening, he pushed open the door, to reveal a rather dark corridor with a deep purple rug covering the entire length of the hallway’s floor. Will she be here?” he found himself wondering, barely able to hope.
With memories flashing in a strange exotic swirl in his mind, it was hard to tell what in the past few weeks was a dream, and what was reality. Perhaps, even, he was becoming insane. Could a sound minded man separate fact from fiction?
Stop being a fool, the prince chided himself, taking a deep breath, and stopping before a tall set of double doors. Beyond lay the future. What was in this room would shape his future, the path he would take; He only hoped he would not be disappointed. Inhaling deeply, hart pounding madly, he shoved open the doors.
His manservant, Winston, who must have arrived but a few short moments before, stood waiting for him, fingers patting a nervous rhythm on his black trousers.  “Prince Elric,” he said, sounding extremely relieved. “I think we must hurry- if your father knew what we were doing-“
 “Hush,” Elric said, his voice low, thick with some sort of emotion Winston could not quite place. His eyes were focused on the long line of girls, representing the entire unwed group from the village of Redge.
 Not daring to get his hopes up, the prince traversed down the line slowly, disappointment cutting into him like the deepest of knife wounds. Was it even likely that she would be here, among this crowd of peasant girls, all of which were probably worth a great deal more then they had been given credit? Perhaps they did not have substantial sums of money, a title… or any such thing. But was that what truly mattered anyway?
 Some of the girls did not look at him as he walked by; others were smiling at him openly. Pick me, their gazes said. I want to be important.
 Glancing up, Elric saw a group of people huddled in the background; eyes filled with a nervous anticipation. After all, it wasn’t every day that the greatest prince in the kingdom sent out a messenger to a village asking for all young women of marriageable age to report to one of the royal family’s many palaces- this one located on the outskirt of Redge. The prince realized that these people must be the loved ones of the girls standing before him. And they were just as anxious about his motives as the girls themselves.
 As he passed another hopeful young lady, her eyes large and bright, he caught sight of the honey colored hair of the girl standing next to her. His breath hitched in his throat, and he fumbled for something intelligent to say. Finally, in an almost inaudible whisper, he spoke one word; one name.
 “Anya?” A pair of frightened green eyes turned to him. They pleaded with him, and Elric saw a deep dread hanging there, as if being chosen were a death sentence.
 “Please,” she whimpered. The prince fought back the distress clawing at his chest. He expelled a shaky breath, before taking her hand carefully.
 “You are free to go,” he said softly, kindly.
The girl gave a gasp of joy, before withdrawing her hand from his, and rushing back to the group of families. The prince watched with an odd feeling in his stomach as the girl threw her arms around a young, tanned boy who probably worked the king’s fields, and received the lowest of salaries. The girl clung the young man, as if she never wished to be parted from him, and hot tears coursed down her cheeks, while the boy whispered comforting words into her ear.
 The prince smiled sadly to himself. It had not been her. It was just another peasant girl; but not his peasant girl. Half-heartedly, Elric paraded past the remaining village girls, before raising his voice loudly so that all in the room could hear his echoing words.
 “You are free to go,” he said without emotion. A wave a disappointment washed through the crowd. Disappointment that almost mirrored his own. And yet, stronger even then the disappointment was wonderful, sweet relief. Nothing bad was going to happen. Now one was going to be punished. And no one’s daughter would marry a tyrant’s son.
 Winston hurried to his employer, curiosity lighting his eyes. “Did you not find her?” he asked hurriedly/ The prince felt his shoulders slump forward slightly.
 “Not yet,” he said quietly, beginning the trek back to his lavish sleeping chambers.
 Perhaps he should speak to some of the men from Redge, and attempt to weasel the answers from them. Maybe it wouldn’t work – he was the king’s son, after all. He was, by association, the enemy. He was dangerous. Men of his lineage had only ever brought pain and suffering to the people of this unfortunate kingdom. Then again, every man, no matter how true, and good they professed to be had a price. Didn’t they?
 Elric was even uncertain of this himself, but he brushed all doubts from his mind, and quickened his step. The villagers must talk to him. He could not even begin to think of what he would do if they rebutted all of his approaches. But no, they would not. His quest was much too important.
 “Not yet,” he repeated, entering his chambers whilst pulling a scrolled map of the kingdom from a bookshelf above the comfortable, goose down bed. Running his finger over various trails and roads, his mind sifted through hundred of possibilities. His index finger trailed over the Wolfs bane mountain range, and through the Filian dessert, and in the gorge of Ill Will. She could have gone anywhere. Turning suddenly, Elric faced his aide, who stood surprised in the doorway.
 “Winston,” the prince said thoughtfully, brushing his hands together to rid himself of the dust the map had accumulated without constant use.
 “Yes?” the servant asked, performing yet another bow.
“I’m going to speak with the king.”           

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: Chasing Jupiter by Rachel Coker

Today I have the pleasure of being involved in a blog tour to review Rachel Coker's newest book, Chasing Jupiter. *I was given this book through Zondervan and Team Novel Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Back Cover: Scarlett Blaine’s life in 1960s Georgia isn’t always easy, especially given her parents’ financial struggles and the fights surrounding her sister Juli’s hippie lifestyle. Then there’s her brother, Cliff. While Scarlett loves him more than anything, there’s no denying his unique behavior leaves Cliff misunderstood and left out. So when he wishes for a rocket to Jupiter, Scarlett agrees to make it happen, no matter how crazy the idea might be. Raising the rocket money means baking pies, and the farmer’s son, Frank, agrees to provide the peaches if Scarlett will help him talk to Juli. The problem is, Scarlett really enjoys her time with Frank, and finds herself wondering if, someday, they could be more than friends. Just as she thinks everything might be going her way, Cliff suffers an accident that not only affects the rocket plans, but shakes Scarlett’s view of God. As the summer comes to an end, Scarlett must find a way to regain what she’s lost, but also fulfill a promise to launch her brother’s dream.

Here's a neat video where Rachel talks about how she got the idea for this story.

 And here's the review. I really really liked Chasing Jupiter. I hadn't read too far, when I decided Miss Coker's writing had improved even since Interrupted.  I liked Interrupted very much, but I loved Chasing Jupiter.

 This book is in my opinion, beautiful, tragic, heartrending, funny, and touching. Too many adjectives? But really. This book affected me so much that at times I laughed out loud, and at others I was sobbing into my pillow. So maybe it had something to do with finishing it at 3 AM, but... It left a big hole in my heart. I didn't want the story to finish, and certain plot points tore me up. (No spoilers here.)

 Another thing I really liked about this story was the character development. Each character in the story, no matter if they were main cast, supporting or whatever were so unique with their personalities, and how they were. Cliff was sweet, and different, and Frank's mom, who you only see for a few scenes was hilarious- she loved to do crazy dances. I like that in a story. It's as if, if you lifted the top part of this book, and searched into each character you could find a back story for every person written about. 

 I felt this book was very deeply written, especially Rachel Coker, who has a talent beyond her years in the way she ca write emotions, and people. Frank sounded like the sweetest guy. Maybe he isn't Sam Carrol, but he's great in his own way. ;) Some people call this a feel good book, but I'd say there's a lot to it. I didn't just "feel good" about it. In fact, sometimes I felt a little bad. (Remember, I was sobbing.) But that's life. And it's nice to read a real story that actually could have happened. 

 So I give Chasing Jupiter five stars. It's a story that really affected me. A story I really love, and will read again. And it's going on my favorites.

You can get the book here:

 Thanks for reading!

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Free on Kindle!

 Today's post will be short. Don't worry, there's going to be another post Friday, and it will be another Characters In Costume! :)

 Two authors I highly respect, and get lots of writing advice through Go Teen Writers from, both have books for free in the Kindle store on Amazon. Now, you don't have to own an actual Kindle device to download these books. Almost every computer, ipod, or device can have a Kindle app downloaded onto it. We're trying to get both of their books into the top 100. Jill's has made it to 70 already!

 Here's a little about the books, and links to get them on your Kindle app/device!

 By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson - Half of Er’Rets is locked beneath an impenetrable shroud. On the side that still sees the sun, two young people struggle to understand the mind-communication abilities thrust upon them.

It's called bloodvoicing. Some say it's a gift. One of the newly "gifted" wish it had never come.

Achan has been a slave all his life. Worse than a slave—a stray. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities—and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

Toward a destination that is by darkness hid.

Me, Just Different by Stephanie Morrill - Getting a fresh start is harder than it looks.

Skylar Hoyt is a girl who seems to have it all--she's pretty, popular, and has a great-looking boyfriend. Her senior year should be the best one yet. But a horrible experience at a summer party has changed everything. Now she's vowing to make better choices, including going back to church. But as Skylar tries to gain new perspective on life, the world as she knows it begins to fall apart.

Her parents are constantly fighting. Her younger sister has a big secret that Skylar is forced to keep. The guy she's dating is annoyingly jealous. And the new guy down the street is just plain annoying. In the midst of the chaos, Skylar starts to wonder who her real friends are and, even more importantly, who she is.

 Please download, and spread the word! :)

~ a rambling author