Tag, I’m it! Ten Questions from Laura!!!

Laura, a fellow college blogger of Laura + the voices, tagged me in a super fun 10 questions post. You can read her Q&As here!

Laura asked me:

1. Do you think NaNoWriMo works?

Yes. I do. I think NaNoWriMo can be a great push to get people writing also, those pep talks…I use them every time I’m feeling low/uninspired. Some great books have come from NaNoWriMo, CINDER anyone? Also, it promotes something you must have, in my opinion, to be a successful writer and to make this a lifelong career, community! NaNoWriMo builds such a great support system that many who attempt to write the 50,000, even if they don’t “win”, still have those wonderful connections & friends ūüôā

2. Have you ever done NaNoWriMo or are you doing it now, and how did it turn out for you?

I did it in 2012 and technically I signed up this year. I’ve never won, and the weird thing is I don’t really care to. I recently read this amazing post by Jessica Spotswood whose Cahill Witch Chronicles is sitting on my physical to-read book shelf right now (as opposed to Goodreads). ¬†I agree with her in that when I do NaNoWriMo I feel so much pressure. The funny thing is that I’m able to complete a MS in 1-3 months. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this, and I’m sure one day I’ll actually complete NaNoWriMo, just not today. However, for those who have never written a book or need a boost, I think NaNoWriMo can really provide that. My first completed MS was something I wrote, on my own, blindly following the story. I didn’t have a support system set in for those highs/lows. With NaNoWriMo, you have that, and it’s wonderful so if you think it’ll help, definitely give it a shot.

3. You are trapped alone in a room for the next year with only one book to read. Which book do you choose?

Mkay. This is a toughie. Haha, have you seen my bookshelves lately (and those are just the two in my dorm). But probably either THE MIST OF AVALON, A HANDMAID’S TALE, BRAVE NEW WORLD, A GAME OF THRONES, NINETEEN MINUTES or some Adult Urban Fantasy book (LOVE UF), or some collection of short stories/fairy tales like GRIMM FAIRY TALES or some world mythology book so that I could have tons of stories to use to help me write, since most of my writing has mythology/fairy tale twists/inspirations.

Interesting that I didn’t pick any YA, huh? Probably because my favorite YAs are series and I would be so mad that I didn’t have the ones after it. However, I wouldn’t mind having HARRY POTTER AND DEATHLY HALLOWS only because while I’ve read Book One, hands down my favorite though I love 5 & 7, over 50,000 times, I feel like I’d love to read and dissect the last book…actually, I might do that one day.

4. Do you prefer e-readers or paper books, and why?

Hardcover all the way, except with my Urban Fantasy books I MUST have paperbacks. Why…because 1. though Kindle’s are amazing and mind is anti-glare, my eyes hurt after looking at a screen all day and after all the writing I do, I need a book. Having a physical book allows me to pull away from “the screen” and sit and cozy up and really enjoy delving into a new world.

5. What is the hardest thing you have ever written?

This research proposal on black queer thought and agenda-making for my PoliSci class. Haha, okay, not exactly (almost). Um, the books I’m writing now. THE ARTIFACT COLLECTOR (MG Adventure) & AS BLACK AS NIGHT (YA Snow White Sci-Fi Retelling).

The MG one is hard because it features a mish-mash of world mythologies. I’m really pushing myself to step outside the typical Greek, Roman, Norse, and even Egyptian (love of my life), though those will be included, it’s also going to include artifacts and creatures I’ve made up and that come from other, non Western, cultures.

The YA one because it’s a Sci-Fi Snow White Retelling and that in itself is challenging. The world has to be spot on, the romance, which is central, needs to be believable even though it happens within a short time period, and I’m also pushing myself to dig deeper than just settling with a Dystopian world, which comes easy to me so in a sense I feel like that’s a cop out, to a world that just is (if that makes any sense). Basically yes, some worlds are dystopian but sometimes people are okay with their messed up worlds, I want the focus to be less on changing the world and more on the two MCs and their life and struggles. Also, I want it to be a standalone so there’s that.

6. What is your favorite book (or books) from childhood?

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, CORALINE (okay, I’m reading now for the first time but I really feel like child Patrice would’ve loved it), THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES by Anne Rice (yes, I’m serious…I was lik 11-12), UGLIES Series, HARRY POTTER Series, PERCY JACKSON Series, ¬†ARTEMIS FOWL, YORUBA GIRL DANCING, A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (& everything Holly Black…such a fangirl), and TILL WE HAVE FACES.

7. What book has had the most profound impact on your writing?

Interestingly enough, probably DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, Harry Potter & Percy Jackson & Octavia Butler’s books. I feel like my writing sometimes has the descriptive air (or at least I want it to) of Laini Taylor’s writing. My narrator often becomes borderline a character like Lemony Snicket, he’s hands down one of my favorite authors (heard him speak at Boston Book Fest last year…died (of laughter)). Usually when that happens I tone it down a bit in later revisions because I’m really trying to form my own voice/narrative style.

As for the last three, the more influenced the type of stories I write. I LOVE Octavia Butler (started with WILD SEED). I think that’s why I write so much Science Fiction/Fantasy that also features diverse characters and non-western worlds. Same with Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson, I write a ton of Contemporary Fantasies. I also LOVE mythology, that came before I read PJ but I’ll never forget being in middle school and having Rick Riordan speak at my school. I wasn’t a fan of the series yet, but I sure was after that.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong in mimicking other writers and taking from them. Only then can you find and create your own voice. It takes practice and lots of writing, but you will see the change. Like with the MSs I’m working on now, OMG, I can totally tell that my writing is so much better. I read an old draft of something I wrote just over a year ago and yuck (ew). You just have to keep at it.

8. Do you have a favorite genre to read? 

Oh, no. I don’t like to limit myself like that. I was just thinking the other day that if I were to become a literary agent, I’d be that agent who got all the SFF queries yet was really just craving a good Contemporary. I love it all. What I most want to read are unique stories. Yes, everything is recycled but make it so good that I can’t tell. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, ASH (Malinda Lo), CORALINE, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE…PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL and PROXY are great examples of books I love. In the case of PSC, there are tons of books on the market about girls in boarding schools with dark elements but add a protagonist like Anne Downing and well, I’m sold. PROXY, it’s a Dystopian but the world…corporations in control, protagonists you love to hate…yep, this PoliSci girl is in love.

9. Do you have a favorite genre to write? Is this the same or different from your favorite genre to read, and why?

I mostly write speculative fiction. I think every one of my stories could become a Contemporary since they’re mostly Contemporary Fantasies and in the case of Science Fiction technically that is Contemp., it’s just not our present. I love other worlds, also, when I was a child, these books saved me. I like presenting tough issues but I can’t do that in a straight up Contemp. background, it would be morbid. For me, putting it against a SFF backdrop is perfect. It becomes a grand metaphor, children can love when they’re young and when they’re older. That’s what some of my favorite SFF is to me. That’s what I want to give to the world, great stories of ordinary people put in extreme situations in the middle of freaking awesome worlds.

10. And lastly, a fun question…You can choose one of the Deathly Hallows. Do you choose the Elder Wand, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Resurrection Stone?

Invisibility Cloak. Some days I purposely try to avoid people, not because I don’t like people but 1. Wellesley is a small campus – 2,500-3,000 students and 2. A lotna of people know me from the various activities I do/have done so I often have to stay in my room and put my phone face-down in order to get any work done. Also, I’m a huge people watcher and I LOVE sitting on Sev Green (big hill, center of campus) and watching people, sometimes that gets a little weird so an Invisibility Cloak would definitely help.

Thanks so much for your wonderful questions, Laura!!! I’m posting this now but between today and tomorrow, I’ll add my ten questions and contact the people I want to tag ūüôā

–Also, I’d love to hear your answers, readers, to one or more of these questions!–

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Oh Mythology, Where Art Thou?

Hi Readers,

I’m starting a new post series on Mythology¬†and its place in the YA novel. ¬†This post series is a part of YA Takeover Week, and the idea for it stemmed from my love for mythology and the bucketloads of mythology that can be found in my YA Contemporary Fantasy – BLOOD OF ISIS.

Have a great day!

Pick up any book on the Young Adult Shelf in your local bookstore and what are you likely to find within its pages (aside from kissing)…mythology!  In today’s world in which everything known and unknown is being used to weave wondrous stories, mythology is king. 

Why?

Because, Mythology is known yet unknown.

Huh?

Let me explain…You see mythology is old or rather ancient, therefore it’s familiar like Shakespeare (this when the ahhs of understanding start to flow in) however because mythology is such a vague, vast term it’s unknown.  Unless you’re a scholar of mythology it’s unlikely you are familiar with every myth even then most mythology scholars focus on one classical civilization or region.

Thus mythology is the perfect element to include in your novel to give it a little umpf ūüėČ

Wait, so if mythology is so important, why aren‚Äôt there more ‚Äújust mythology‚ÄĚ based books in YA?

Great question J And the answer (*cough, cough ‚Äď my guess) is that mythology is hard.¬† It‚Äôs very hard, not just challenging, to write a book that takes a spin on a classical myth‚Ķwhy?

Because you run the risk of but two main things (probably more than this):

  1. You’ll try to include everything and instead of making the story your own it’s just a jumble of facts from random civilizations
  2. You’ll stick with the accepted myths (aka mostly Greek myths) and will have a hard time trying to make your story stand out in the sea (maybe even ocean) of similarly based stories

So where to start???  How to research???   How to craft a beautiful story that has many or few elements of mythology…I’ll tell you!

Stay tuned for the next post in series, it will be out later today (aka around 11, when I get out of class).

Have anything you’d like me to address, any tips you’d like to share, personal experiences or stories…comments are always welcome!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

The Paladin Prophecy

The Paladin Prophecy

The Paladin Prophecy (The Paladin Prophecy, #1)

by: Mark Frost

Book Blurb

Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents’ insistence, he’s made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam.

Now Will is being courted by an exclusive prep school . . . and is being followed by men driving black sedans. When Will suddenly loses his parents, he must flee to the school. There he begins to explore all that he’s capable of–physical and mental feats that should be impossible–and learns that his abilities are connected to a struggle between titanic forces that has lasted for millennia.

My Review

Owl rating: 

It is very rare that a book can keep me “out of the loop” as much as¬†The Paladin Prophecy¬†did yet at the same time have me 100% enamored with it. ¬†
There is something truly magical about the way Mark Frost weaved together this story, did it feel like I was reading 560 pages worth…at times but for the most part I loved it, enough to give it five owls. ¬†I am a huge character person, if I don’t like one of the characters (and not in a “I don’t like this character because they are :the bad guy” way”) I usually don’t like the book. ¬†The Paladin Prophecy gave me a slew of amazing characters, it really has set the scene for what promises to be a great¬†second¬†book in the series.
The book beings with Will West (love the name!), a young boy who has been taught to stay under the radar.  The book captivated me from the very beginning yet from the very beginning I was completely confused.  Will wakes up talking about these rules he has to follow, a list of rules his dad gave to him.  Without much time at all we find out that Will is being followed, that he is actually really smart and super fast runner,  and before I knew it, Will was at this mysterious boarding school for geniuses.
There really is only so much I can say about this book, without spoiling it (something, according to my friends, I’m very good at unintentionally doing). ¬†This book also revealed something major about my preferences, since I can be a pretty hard core Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, & Adventure gal, ¬†I tend to like YA books with boy main¬†characters¬†better because for one there’s not a bunch of insta-love or gushy romance stuff that ruins and makes everything¬†unrealistic. ¬†For some reason¬†almost¬†every book in those genres with¬†a girl main character always has to introduce a guy as the main supporting character right away,¬†friendship¬†with¬†girls is nonexistent¬†or not valued. ¬†Sure Will West has a girl “sidekick” but much like Harry’s Hermione or Percy Jackson’s Annabeth, she’s pretty darn awesome and nothing close to an airhead.
So would it be too bold of me to raise this book to the ranks of Harry Potter or Percy Jackson…maybe but then again, it’s a darn good book that has action, adventure, beginnings of romance, mystery, as well as strong and independent characters (meaning they have¬†personalities¬†that stand alone and are very well defined).
I will warn you, if you are not okay with finding out very little and I do mean only snippets of information and having to¬†work¬†to piece together those snippets, this book isn’t for you. ¬†Yes there is action but Mark Frost takes his time, letting you know only what is absolutely¬†necessary…so if you’re willing to be in the dark, go and get it, for it is well worth your time ūüôā
**This is a 100% honest book review, I received the book from the publisher through NetGalley**
–Whimsically Yours,
PnC
Expected publication: September 25th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Library Binding, 560 pages
ISBN: 0375970452 
Edition language: English

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The Next Big Thing

Thanks to¬†Jen McConnel¬†and¬†Kip Wilson¬†for tagging me in this fun post. It gives me the chance to talk about the manuscript I’m working on and share that love with some friends. ¬†I’m tagging, E.R. Arroyo, Oliver Dahl, Mia K Rose, and A.K. Fotinos-Hoyer.

1. What is the working title of your book? Blood of Isis
 
2. Where did the idea come from the book? Honestly I have no idea.  I do not remember how this book started, I can only guess with much certainty that it came from my love of all thing Ancient Egyptian as well as my experience transferring to a new high school for my senior year.
 
3. What genre is your book? Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
 

4. Which actors would you choose to play the characters in a movie? Haha, actually when I started doing some characterization exercises I created Pinterest Boards for my Main Characters.  And for the cover of those boards I have Blake Lively as Camille Katzen, Alexis Bledel as Alexis Bello, Tika Sumpter as Jordan Monroe, and some mix of Marion Cotillard and Meta Golding as Aziza Harper (the main character).

Sadly, if my book does become a movie, these actresses will be too old, and the person who plays Aziza will need to be Egyptian and I know of no famous young Egyptian-American actresses…my book will not be whitewashed by Hollywood.

 
5. What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?¬†When Aziza Harper discovers that she is the descendant of the Egyptian Goddess Isis, it will be up to her an her new friends, who are not so ordinary themselves, to save the world from the¬†coming¬†of the Seth–a power-hungry Egyptian God who is back for revenge.
 
6. Will your book be self-published or repped by an agency?¬†I do not have an agent–my book is in its final editing/revision phase, or at least hopefully that’s what my Beta Readers will tell me. ¬†I plan on beginning to query for agents by October 8th, however I am entering in GUTGAA so we shall see….I do want & plan on being traditionally¬†published.
 
7. How long did it take you to finish your first draft?¬†My first draft was finished in three months, that’s my time frame for first drafts…I always aim to produce one and start another every three months.
 
8.¬†What other books would you compare yours to in this genre?¬†I see my closest comparisons to be the Percy Jackson Series (especially the first one), Oppression,the Gallagher Girls series, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. ¬†Percy Jackson because of the mythology and the journey to the Underworld with friends aspect (I’d like to think of my MC as the female Percy Jackson, in¬†some¬†ways). ¬†Oppression because of the mythology but also because Oppression unlike, PJ, is aimed more at the audience my book is aimed at (16-18 ¬†year olds +/- a year), as well as the “prophecy” aspect that the main character of Oppression and mine share. ¬†And Gallagher Girls and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants because while my book does have a tinge of romance, it mainly focuses on the girls friendship and adventures together.
**These are some of my favorite series…if you haven’t read them I highly suggest it, and you can read my review of¬†Oppression, here!**
Yes there are more obvious choices such as Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles or Lynn Ewing’s Sisters of Isis series that deal with Egyptian Mythology however I’ve read these books (after I wrote mine) and I think the comparisons I¬†have¬†chosen compare better.
 
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? I don’t want to sound pompous but I inspired myself to write this book. ¬†I had a really hard time adjusting to a new school during my senior year that was only made easier my me making friends and getting involved with theater. ¬†I¬†switched¬†school’s a few times throughout elementary/middle school and so I know what it feels like to have to readjust to new surroundings, luckily I’m a pretty social person where my main character Aziza, isn’t.
Also I have four sisters, and I work & ¬†volunteer with a lot of teen mentoring programs. ¬†So I really wanted to write a book that encompassed a lot of the things teen girls go through, and teens in general which is why my MC starts out kind of hardened and by the end of the book has gained a sense of who she is as a person. ¬†As a result there are a lot of underlying themes in my book, some of which I didn’t plan to be there…I love it!
 
10. What else about your book my pique a reader’s interest?¬†So many things, I could go on and on for days but since I don’t have that kind of time, and you probably don’t want to read all of that I shall refer you to a love list I wrote for BLOOD OF ISIS as well as another one of my WIPs. ¬†Check it out here!
Thanks again, Jen & Kip! ¬†This was really fun! ūüôā
Whimsically Yours,
PnC