The Night Circus Magic.

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Let me start by saying how incredibly grateful I am to have read this story. Erin Morgenstern has earned a loyal fan. I must say, after having read a few reviews of this book from people I trusted, I went into The Night Circus with high expectations. Every single one were met.

I don’t want to critique this book, or give anything away. Part of the magic for me was not really knowing much about the story other than there are two magicians dueling each other and that the backdrop was a circus, only open at night. So in order to help you decide if you want to read this book, I’m just going to make this simple!

If you like using your imagination, you will love this book. I got lost in the sweeping, beautiful details of the circus. Morgenstern did a phenomenal job painting the most elaborate pictures with her imagery. It was stunning as it unfolded within my mind.

If you need lots of action in a story, you will not like this book. This book is more a museum of unique artwork you leisurely walk through siping on a glass of wine, less of a Marvel movie you watch shoveling popcorn.

If you love magic and wonder, you will love this book. While there is not much action in terms of story, the creativity and sense of awe surrounding the magicians creations were completely inspiring. I’ve never wanted to be in the setting of a book more in my life!

If you want a mind numbing read, you will not like this book. If you want to follow the plot, you will need to use your noggin. There are lapses in the timeline, jumping back and forth with in said timeline, and multiple POV’s. But it made me feel as though I was discovering something, like I was working out something previously unknown.

If you appreciate the art of writing as much as the finished product, you will love this book. At least I did. As a writer, Morgenstern’s style inspired me. In fact, after reading The Night Circus, I was inspired to jump back into writing my own story and finishing it. Which for me, is a sign of an awesome story.

And that’s all I’m giving you. If you’re still on the fence, just go pick it up or download it on your kindle. It’s worth the money even if you don’t end up liking it!

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Storytelling Lessons: Stranger Things Edition

My husband and I just finished binge watching the second season of Stranger Things this weekend. Let me rephrase, it only took us 24 hours. He had minor surgery so it was the perfect excuse to stay in and not move off the couch, except to get more chips and dip. Because, priorities and all that.

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Man, what a show. What an incredible lesson in storytelling. There are several things I learned while watching this show, and here are just a few of them.

  • You don’t have to write elaborately to write meaningful emotion. Stranger Things does this in such a special way. I won’t include spoilers because the show just got released on Netflix, but there is a highly emotional scene towards the end of the season where people are just sitting in a bare room, telling stories about a specific character. It’s moving and important, and even better, simple. It’s about timing and placing those scenes in the right places.

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  • The visual picture matters. The only thing movies and TV have over books is beautiful cinematography. There is a moment in the show when you see something scary, something evil from one of the main characters perspective. More specifically, from right behind him, and able to actually witness the goosebumps rise on the back of his neck. It was a freaking incredible shot. We may not be able to give our readers that moment, but we can come pretty dang close. The point? The picture you paint is super important, and even though we may not be able to move the camera behind the character’s head to create that amazing shot, we should do our best to give our reader’s their own goosebumps.

 

  • We love feelings of nostalgia. Between Stranger Things and Guardians of the Galaxy, I think it’s obvious we all have a thing for the 80s. Considering I was born in 1981, I’m one of those people. We love being reminded of how life used to be, especially the pop culture we obsessed over as kids. The music, the hair, the clothes. And just FYI, this season of Stranger Things does NOT disappoint in that area. We like remembering what life was like pre-internet, and teaching those kiddies born in this millennia what childhood was like for us. How can use this as writers? Reminding readers about the past is not only an effect story-telling tool, it’s also a way to engage our readers by using their own past experiences and eliciting those feelings in our own story.

 

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  • Write like your reader will not be able to put your book down. One of the things I love about this show is their absolute audacity in assuming I was going to binge watch this entire season this weekend. They shot and edited these episodes in such a way that it was practically impossible not to! Every episode was such a beautifully frustrating cliff hanger, you’d think they planned it or something. I think it’s okay for us to write the same way. Don’t tie bows at the end of chapters. Just assume your readers don’t need to pee, or eat dinner. Write only the important things and be relentless! Don’t give your reader the opportunity to put your book down.

 

  • It’s okay to let your character make dumb decisions. I lost count how many times I groaned into my hands in frustration or yelled at the TV to a character for something stupid they were doing. “Don’t go into the hole you igit!!!” “Why are you doing this alone?” “How can you possibly think this is a good idea?!” I’m not sure when I decided all my characters had to be smart and strategic in everything they did, but Stranger Things reminded me that sometimes people do dumb stuff, and it’s okay for that to be reflected in my stories. Besides, reckless decisions lead to danger, great tension, and high intensity scenes, so why not?

 

Have you watched Stranger things yet? What show are you currently binge watching? If you have a show you think I should watch and could learn from, let me know!

Sequel Update.

Hey everyone! Sorry, it’s been a while since my last blog. I had mono for a couple of months and tried my best to rest, allowing my mind and body to heal. But now I’m back at it and ready to continue working on the sequel.

So, here is the update. My manuscript is finished and currently with my new editor! Once she gets her edits back to me, I’ll do some re-writing and send it back to her for a final look over.

My cover art is also with my new graphic designer and she is working on digitizing the cover. So that is also out of my hands for now.

So what am I doing???

I’m working on putting together my marketing plan and promo materials. I’m compiling lists of potential ideas, blog tour options, blogging schedule, etc. So if you are interested in being a part of the blog tour, or promo in any way, please let me know! I will keep you updated on opportunities to help, giveaways, and discounts here, so keep a look out.

As far as a time frame goes, I would LOVE to put the sequel out in December, but I’m still unsure if we can make these dates work. It just depends on editing timing, etc. But, this is the goal!

Tentative dates:

November 1st: Cover Reveal

November 14th: Presale

December 5th: Sequel goes on sale!

December 5th – December 12th: Blog Tour

Thank you guys for all of your support and encouragement! I can’t wait for you to see what is in store for Eden and Gabby.

 

How far we’ve come!

Hello friends, this past week has been one of the most fun weeks of my life!

I wanted to just take a moment and reflect on just how far this story has come. The morning The Door Keeper released, my sister sent me this photo.

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This was a copy of the first draft of The Door Keeper I gave to my Dad for his birthday. (I’m seriously glad I didn’t attempt to create the actual cover…) Lol

And here I am, now receiving pictures and texts from friends reading the book they bought on Amazon.!

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I just wanted to take a moment with all of you and appreciate how far we’ve come. I hope that you all know that I realize this story is as much yours as it is mine.

I’ve heard many authors compare their books to their babies. It’s true in a sense. In a moment of inspiration, or creativity…something is conceived. (Insert middle school giggle here.) Then for months and months, it grows and develops into something more, something that can breath and move on it’s own accord. Then one day, before you are both truly ready, you have to shove it out into the world and are forced to let it go.

It’s also true that it takes a village to raise a baby, or in this case a book.

I want you all to know that you are my village. You are all my tribe. I credit you all for helping me mature this little thing, growing it up, and helping me release it into the great unknown. 🙂

Thank you for growing The Door Keeper with me. Any success of it, is success that you should and hopefully will, share with me.

Help me spread a story of Joy.

I should be editing this morning. BUT, I’m finding it hard to concentrate, so I figured it’d be helpful to share what I’m feeling. You guys seem to like it when I’m vulnerable.

I’m finding it increasingly hard to remain positive about the world and current events.

There is so much division, frustration, anger, fear, and harsh words, and it’s insanely easy to get caught up in it. Every status or comment I read, I feel the respective emotion boiling up in me.

I’m already tired of it. So, here’s the deal. I’m asking all of you to help me spread the Joy. A couple of years ago, I went through a program that helped me determine my life’s mission. If you dumbed down my life to one sentence…what is the point of me and my life? To bring Joy. That’s it, pure and simple. Writing has been an amazing way for me to attempt to do that.

In my opinion, I have written the best kind of story. The Door Keeper is a story where joy, peace, and hope prevail and *spoiler alert* FEAR is the villain. One thing I want us all to remember is that fear can not withstand joy, hope and peace. It crumbles under the weight of it.

So let’s crumble the fear, frustration, anger, and division for just a moment. Help me share a story of joy, hope, family, reconciliation, and forgiveness. Because, even if it only lasts the time it takes you to read the story, at least fear falls to the wayside for a moment. And in my opinion, every single moment joy winning over fear is a victory.

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Anxiety comes before Vulnerability.

I am normally a confident person. But something about the process of writing, editing, and publishing has brought out some interesting insecurities in me. I couldn’t nail it down, or where it was coming from, until I finally realized it. I’ve been reaching out to reviewers and trying to prepare myself for my first negative review, (because let’s be honest, it’s gonna happen,) when I figured out why I was feeling this anxiety.

Vulnerability.

Even though this is a fictitious story that takes place in some fictitious places, I put so much of myself in this story. In some weird way, I feel like I’m laid bare on these pages. And the idea that someone might not like it… or like me… makes me feel a bit anxious. But that is what happens when we create art of any kind, right? We put little pieces of our soul in our work, that is what makes it good. At least that is what I hope makes it good. 🙂

I know this is a part of the process, but it’s new territory for me. Thankfully, I came across a quote on an Instagram feed.

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It’s so true, and it’s a great reminder. Because we were not made to do nothing, say nothing, or be nothing. We were made to create, so we must be able to handle criticism.

I would love to hear how you guys are feeling about the things you are working on. What are you creating or doing that makes you feel vulnerable? Is this something that you struggle with from time to time as well?

Writing: A snapshot of my life.

One of my most favoritest things about writing, besides making up words, is re-living the moments I wrote certain scenes.

When I reread and edit my work, I don’t just read, I remember when and where I was, and how I felt when I originally wrote it.

Once The Door Keeper comes out and is out for a bit, I want to do a fun blog series telling you the stories behind writing certain scenes. Because in all honesty, writing this story was as much fun as reading it. Stephen King says that the writer should be the story’s first reader, and that is how I felt on most days. It’s interesting, sometimes I would sit down to write and would end up writing something completely different than I’d intended. The story took a direction or a turn of it’s own will, without my direction. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true. Sometimes I would be furious with myself for something I wrote…How could I do that to my character? Why would I write that?

WHY???

One time, I slammed my laptop closed because I left a chapter with a ridiculous cliff hanger and had to stop writing for the day. That’s what I do with my books when I have to stop reading. 🙂

The truth is, I like being reminded of the process. No matter what happens with this book, wether it sells or not, I will always be grateful for the snapshot of my life during the time I wrote it.