Today, I am launching my brand new landing website, cadyhammer.com! This will serve as a place to find the most up-to-date information about me and my books. My dad bought this domain for me years ago when I was a kid in hopes that one day I would use it. It makes me so happy to be able to showcase this site under my name as a part of my author pathway. I hope you all will check it out!
And don’t worry, Fluff About Fantasy will still be updated on a (hopefully) bi-weekly schedule. I plan to keep this site as active as possible as well. Sending good wishes on the first Monday of the new year!
It’s the end of 2020, the end of the most tumultuous year of my life. From March to December, I have been sequestering in my house due to an underlying health condition. My world that felt so big suddenly shrank to the size of my parents’ houses. Suddenly, I was writing, studying, and just living with my family all the time. It has been quite a learning curve. My heart hurts to be away from my extended family, my friends, and the love of my life. It aches for all the loss we have seen this year.
But some really positive things came out of this year too for me. I published my debut novel, Chasing Fae in August 2020. I spent March to August working to make it as perfect as I could, and it’s been out for nearly five months now. I love being a published author. It is such a liberating experience. I love how creative I get to be while writing and working on the business side. I also had a really great semester; I finished with a 3.59 GPA. Puts me in great contention for grad school.
As I look ahead to 2021, I want to share my author goals with you.
Books Planned to Release in 2021
I have three books that I hope to release by the end of the year. I’m going to list these in order of potential release, but know that these are subject to whatever schedule I can work out.
First, I am happy to announce a new project that I have just started: a prequel novella to Chasing Fae. This novella will be a series of stories from the House of the Evening to weave in a little bit of background and foreshadowing into the Fae’s world before book 2 of the trilogy comes out. Readers will see Grace’s parents fateful meeting, Neil’s perspective on that final scene from Chasing Fae, and a look into Grace’s new stepmother, High Lady Elise, and what it took to get where she is now. It’s a short project, and I’m hoping it could be out sometime in the spring.
Second, my untitled nonfiction project that I was previously working on with New Degree Press will be my first full-length self-published book. I am working on a combination of additional research and drafting right now. I shifted the direction somewhat on my original premise, and I think it is going to make the book more engaging and interesting.
Finally, Chasing War! I have been working on this sequel for a little while now, and it has been amazing. I really cannot wait to bring readers further into the Upper Realm. However, as I’m seeing from my beta readers, it’s going to take some significant revision to make it the way I want. Expect this one to be out closer to the end of 2021.
New Website and Email Newsletter
I am launching cadyhammer.com this month! This will be my home landing page for people wanting to learn more about me and my books as well as subscribe to my email newsletter. I will continue to create posts for Fluff About Fantasy, but it will be on a bi-weekly/monthly basis rather than my primary focus. I’m excited to finally use my name domain.
I also want to consistently put out a solid monthly newsletter to keep fans engaged with personal stories, special looks at my works, and early access to pre-order announcements. Since I’m transitioning to being a fully indie author, you’ll see many more opportunities to preorder books and get special extras.
The hardest part of the publishing process for me is marketing. An author has to do this constantly while also continuing to write. (I’m also a full-time student!) For me, my primary focuses will be on expanding my social media presence with my Facebook page and Instagram. Twitter will take more of a backseat and serve as my way to connect with other writers, and Pinterest will get a monthly update as I move forward. I plan to learn how to use Amazon and Facebook ads effectively, and who knows: maybe I’ll have the opportunity to attend another writing conference once the pandemic is over.
That’s everything to look forward to from me in 2021. It’s quite a lot of goals, but I think I’ll be able to manage. Wish me luck!
This month, I have been primarily focusing on getting Chasing War into a place where I feel confident that over the next few months, I can make it amazing. This sequel has tested me a lot already in the drafting stage. The story is good, but there are much more problems than when I was drafting Chasing Fae. Maybe that’s me though; there may have been just as many problems back then too. 😀
A few weeks ago, I just knew something was wrong with the book. But for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was. At first, I thought it might be a bunch of missing plot points. Maybe the book needed more substance? But that didn’t quite feel right. Although I needed much more character development, this was a second draft, and something more was missing. I took to Twitter to ask for help. An author, Shawn T. Anderson (@ShawnTWrites) told me about Save The Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody, a book about novel writing. He told me it was a great diagnostic tool for plot problems.
I did some searching and ended up on Samantha Gilbo’s website where I found a great step-by-step guide on how to outline your novel using Brody’s book. It included a free beat sheet that I would highly recommend you grabbing; it helped me visualize the process much more clearly. I don’t want to directly copy over what she has said, so I’ll give you a basic overview and have you read her article on your own.
Act 1: The Beginning
Opening Image – A scene that shows the protagonist in her world before the adventure. It can be an introduction to your main character or if it’s a sequel like my book, a showcasing of the new state your protagonist found themselves in at the end of book 1 before everything changes again.
Setup – Multiple scenes that reveal the protagonist’s current life and the world around them with all of their flaws. Sometimes you may introduce supporting characters or some sort of initial goal for the character to work towards.
Somewhere in there, there will be a scene where your main theme is stated, something that hints at what your protagonist will learn over the course of your book.
Catalyst – A scene where a life-changing event happens to your main character that launches them onto the path of the rest of the story.
Debate – Several scenes where the protagonist debates what to do next.
Break Into Two – A scene where the protagonist decides to accept their new role, embark on their new adventure, and/or otherwise enter upon the point where everything will change.
Act 2A: The Middle (Part 1)
B Story – A scene that introduces a new character or a series of supporting characters that will ultimately help the protagonist on their journey.
Fun and Games – A multitude of scenes where the protagonist either succeeds or fails in a series of events that show off the new world they have been thrust into.
Midpoint – A single scene where the above section either ends in what Gilbo describes as a “false victory” (if the protagonist has been succeeding so far) or a “false defeat” (if the protagonist has been failing so far). Gilbo provides some great examples in her description.
Act 2B: The Middle (Part 2)
Bad Guys Close In – Depending on which direction your midpoint takes, the next several scenes will show an impactful turn in the protagonist’s path. In the situation of a “false victory”, everything will go downhill from there. In the case of a “false defeat”, things will slowly begin to get better and better for your main character. In either choice, the external bad guy (antagonist) or an internal enemy (like fear or a false belief) are closing in.
All is Lost – A scene that takes your main character to their lowest point.
Dark Night of the Soul – Multiple scenes where the protagonist takes time to process everything that has happened so far. This usually brings forth some revelation that ushers them into the story’s finale.
Break Into Three – A scene where the protagonist realizes what they have to do to fix the external story struggles as well as their internal struggles.
Act 3: The End
Finale – The protagonist takes matters into their own hands in this multi-scene segment and solves their dilemmas. Gilbo breaks this out into five separate parts, which I would highly recommend reading about in her article. I found it super helpful.
After reading over this format and filling it out for Chasing War, I found out what my problems were! Turns out, the issues with the draft had to do with structure rather than plot. I ended up making a sheet to rearrange the entire first half of the book. The inciting incident needs to occur earlier, and magical lessons needed to be spread out throughout the story. In the process, I found seven places to add new chapters that would connect subplots better. When I wrote everything out, I instantly felt this wave of relief and honestly, thrill wash over me. I had solved my problem!
All in all, I would highly, highly recommend using this method if you are having problems with plot or structure in your novel. It absolutely revitalized my excitement for this sequel. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!
Hey everybody! I’m back! I finished up my last class of the semester on Friday, and now (despite exams), I have much more time to concentrate on my writing and on this blog. I have been trying to brainstorm topics relating to writing fantasy that readers would be interested in. I have a few, but if you have any ideas or topics that you would love to read about, please shoot me a comment or a message!
For today’s blog post, I want to chat about a subgenre of fantasy that I am thinking about attempting: the fairytale retelling. After the Chasing Fae trilogy, I’m considering taking on a Robin Hood retelling. It is one of my favorite childhood stories, and I have some pretty solid ideas to take the story in a new direction. It’s a subgenre that I enjoy reading, but it has to be done right. So I have been exploring the web for the best tips for writing a fairytale retelling, and these are the top three that I found.
Tip #1: Read Your Chosen Fairytale Carefully.
Before you take on your fairytale retelling, you must read the original! Whatever the story or fairytale may be, find the original version and read it from cover to cover. Make some notes on the various elements of the story. Essentially, you have to take stock of what you have to work with: characters, general plotline, what details of the world are available. It may seem tedious, but you want to capture every detail you can so you can build from there.
Tip #2: Figure out what you want to change.
Next, you’ll want to decide how much you want to change for your retelling. Here’s a few ideas you may want to think about:
Whose perspective do you want to tell the story from? Will it be the protagonist, or will you take it from a different perspective?
Do you want to update the setting? For example, will you be changing the time period to the present day? How will the world change?
How do you want to enhance the characterization? How can you make the main characters more full, more well-rounded to suit your purposes? What minor characters might jump into the spotlight?
What is your twist? What is your unexpected element that is going to make this retelling unique?
Tip #3: Build a world around the story.
One of the things that is interesting about classic fairytales is that often the setting can be quite nondescript. You hear about the “beautiful castle” or the “rolling hills”, but it has very little other details. This gives you the ability to dream big with your worldbuilding. That is one of the things that I am most excited to tackle in a fairytale retelling. Take this opportunity to take those little details and go wild. If you want more inspiration on how to take your worldbuilding to the next level, check out my Worldbuilding tab for worldbuilding questions and tips.
That’s all for now, friends. I’ll write more posts soon! Happy writing!
Hey Charlotte readers! I’m super excited to announce that Chasing Fae is officially stocked at Park Road Books! I was so thrilled to see my book in the front window and on the shelf at a place I love to visit. I spent lots of time here in high school searching for autographed copies of my favorite books to collect. I also found some of my favorite new books in their store. If you stop by, feel free to send me a picture!
Hey friends! My latest podcast appearance just went live this morning, so I wanted to quickly share it with everyone. Booked All Night is a fantastic YA book blog that I love, and I’ve been working with them for quite a few weeks now. I posted both a guest post and an excerpt of Chasing Fae with them as part of my book launch blog tour. Jess, Maggie, and Dan were a great trio of hosts who had me laughing and sharing plenty of stories about the creation of Chasing Fae and my plans for book 2. I hope you’ll take a listen!
Hey everybody, check out this newly released podcast episode for It’s Never Too Late With Megha Upadhyaya. I had a lot of fun recording this with Megha, and I am so excited to share it with all of you. We’re chatting today about worldbuilding, writing fantasy, and the concepts that have inspired me. Available on the following platforms for listening:
Hello friends! I want to start off the week with a bang by sharing with you my very first giveaway! I’m giving away FIVE Kindle copies of Chasing Fae at the end of September. All it takes is following the link below to share your email address with Fluff About Fantasy. Plenty of opportunities for bonus entries as well by following me on various social medias.
Now that my first book is out in the world, it is time for me to turn my attention to writing book 2. As I have gotten back into the swing of writing a first draft again, I am realizing that there are just as many, if not more elements to consider in writing a fantasy sequel than writing the first book or a standalone. The world that I have created has to be maintained while I am also elaborating on places the reader has already seen and creating new destinations for them to enjoy. I must create an entirely new storyline that must bring people in just as much as the first one. But most importantly, I need to recapture characters that I have already created and let the reader see more. This is the topic I am going to be addressing today. I want to share a little bit about what I am learning in the early stages of starting the sequel to Chasing Fae.
Lesson #1: Keep Details and Initial Personalities Consistent.
Readers have seen Grace move throughout the Three Realms for over three hundred pages, and they have a distinct idea of who she is and the kind of decisions she tends to make. When the second book begins, I don’t want to stray too far from that, at least in the first chapter. I feel like it’s important to re-ground your reader in the main characters you have already introduced, particularly the protagonist. I enjoy books that take a moment to subtly reacquaint the reader with where they are, who they are with, and when the story is picking up from before diving in only a couple of pages later. I am hoping that I will be able to accomplish that with the beginning of Chasing War.
Lesson #2: But Don’t Forget Your Characters Need To Have New Arcs.
In Chasing Fae, both Grace and Aiden went through visible major shifts as people from the beginning to the end of the story. Those two arcs were closed, not to be reopened again. Instead, I have to now take both of those characters to new places and work in new character development. It isn’t enough to show them in their newfound state from the end of book 1; as an author, you have to reintroduce new challenges and states of mind that will push your characters to transform in unique ways. And remember, that transformation should be as varied and complex as the first time around. Grace had quite a few failures that brought her development as a person backwards before she found ways to push forward. I plan on doing more of that to keep things interesting.
Lesson #3: Elaborate On Secondary Characters.
In a sequel, it is important to take some time and explore those secondary characters who will continue to be instrumental in the overall series arc. I am so excited to build on those characters who took on small to medium sized roles in Chasing Fae. I have so many fantastic plans for bringing a couple of those people into the main plotline and giving them a full arc for readers to explore alongside Grace’s.
Lesson #4: Introducing New Characters Is A Must.
It matters just as much to create entirely new characters as it does to elaborate on the characters that are already present. Many of the secondary characters that will be showcased in book 2 were mentioned briefly in name only or perhaps had a very small cameo near the end. I am not sure if I consider writing them to be elaborating on previously established people because there is so much that the readers do not know about them. I might even consider them to be brand new characters for people to fall in love with. But on top of that, I do plan on bringing in one or two solid unheard-of-before-this-book characters to make sure that I get that element of fresh blood in the sequel.
These are my preliminary observations as I work on drafting. I may update this as I learn more through my writing. Until then, happy writing everyone!
The barrier between the Upper Realm and the Middle Realm was a deliberate decision as an author that I felt was incredibly necessary to the progression of Grace’s journey. I wanted it to be difficult, but not impossible for mortals to cross over into the Fae world. In order to achieve that, I needed to create something strong, yet with access points that could be controlled and utilized to either a Fae or a mortal’s advantage.
To begin with, there is daily trade moving across the border as a supplement to both realm’s economies. This fit in well with the history of the relationship between the two and serves as a clear boundary of superior vs. inferior. On the Fae side of the border, there is virtually no protection. The Fae saw no reason to put guards on the Upper Realm side because they saw no danger in the Fae having access to the mortal realm. It is a bit taboo to have non-designated Fae crossing into the Middle Realm, but there aren’t necessarily clear regulations. Any goods and people travelling through the Upper Realm to the Middle Realm to sell their wares would be checked by the officials on the Middle Realm side. With certain kinds of magic, this could be worked around, hence the ease of the start of the black market trade.
On the Middle Realm side, however, goods are brought in by train and by cart. Very few mortals are allowed to get anywhere close to the actual barrier. There is a heavy layer of magic surrounding the border between realms designed to keep anyone without magic from passing through. There are also a large series of guards stationed along the border that rotate throughout the day. Anyone seen as suspicious will immediately be taken into custody and whisked off to an unknown location to be questioned. Very few come back from that, and those that do seem haunted.
The way the barrier is designed shows exactly what the Fae are afraid of. They aren’t really worried what happens if rogue Fae end up in the Middle Realm. What matters more is what happens if rogue mortals sneak into the Upper Realm. It isn’t clear exactly what they are afraid of at this time, but that is something that will be explored throughout Chasing Fae and perhaps in the greater trilogy.
I loved writing the chapter where Grace and David travel from Lisden to the border. I tried to give a glimpse of what the rest of the Middle Realm outside of Lisden looks like through brief descriptions while keeping the action moving. This scene is also a brief glimpse into the mortal role in the black market. David is one of the best black market runners in the realm, and his know-how and quick reflexes really shine through in this scene. I hope that people pay attention to this segment and pick up on those little details that may just show up again in later books.