A Childhood Dream Come True: My Journey

There are about two and a half weeks left in my presale campaign, and I’m 25% of the way to my goal! That is a really great start, but it’s going to be a hard push to get to the end. So for my website followers and frequent readers, I thought I would share a really personal story about how writing has transformed my life and about how my dream of publishing a novel is a very, very old one. I hope you enjoy!

The School Story

When I was ten years old, I read Andrew Clements’ novel, School Story, for the first time. For anyone not familiar with his work, School Story is about two twelve-year-old girls who work together to get a book published. Natalie has written a full novel, and when her friend, Zoe, reads it, she is convinced that it’s good enough to be published. Natalie eventually agrees, but she wants the book sent to the publishing company where her mother works. She wants her mom to be the editor, but in order to get the book through to the top of the pile, Natalie and Zoe have to undertake the process through a series of pen names, false names, and a agency started with Zoe’s savings account. It is a fantastic book.

The story struck me very deeply in a couple ways. First, I was fascinated by the process of getting a book from written stage to published stage. Clements did a fairly good job of running through the various steps and how a book moves through a publishing company. It showed the toughness of editing over and over again without sugarcoating it, but the main character could see the transformation with every comment and every new draft. Second, I loved the fact that the girls were young. They were my age. What if I could do that? Get a book written and published at a young age? Could I? Did I have the potential to do that?

I decided that I did.

The Marked Girl

I wrote my first book when I was in fifth grade. I spent every lunch period and admittedly, a decent part of the school day writing. Some of my classmates since I have released this book have commented on how they remember me constantly writing stories when we were kids. The book, titled the Marked Girl, ended up being about 22,000 words, which was fantastic for a ten-year-old’s first attempt. It was a cute little middle grade story set in a fantastical world with a protagonist that was very much like me. I actually ran through two or three revisions with it, and I got beta readers from within my class. I really had strong ambitions as a fifth grader!

Now, that book will never see the light of day, and I have come so far from that time. But I still have the book on my computer, and I read it every once in a while to remind myself what I am capable of.

The Unfinished Stories

Between sixth grade and senior year of high school, I attempted to write more mature young adult books. It was the kind of book that I was reading, and I wanted to emulate that as best I could. I dabbled in a few different genres: contemporary romance, fantasy, fantasy crossed with science fiction. Building new characters and new plots excited me, but I couldn’t finish the stories. There are notebooks and stacks of papers stuffed into all sorts of drawers in my room filled with unfinished manuscripts. I would get six to eight chapters in before a new idea would come up and I would switch books. Nothing gelled for me before Chasing Fae.

Chasing Fae was the one bright, strong idea that I never lost faith in. I knew I could take it all the way.

What Writing Did For Me

Writing saved me in a lot of ways.

Writing was an escape for me. I didn’t have many friends growing up, especially as I entered into middle school. I was a very lonely kid. When I was writing, I could create any kind of world I wanted to. My characters could fall in love with the people they were meant to, and life could have a happy ending. The bad boy could fall in love with the good girl. The introvert could find her voice. Even when life was rough, the world would eventually turn itself around.

Writing gave me confidence. It gave me the strength to speak out for myself and the work that I was creating. It taught me how to be concise and descriptive. Writing taught me how to dream and how to keep dreaming as I got older, despite the odds.

I think books are so powerful because they allow us to slip into a new world and connect with people that we desperately want to see achieve their goals. We relish every success and every twist and turn that the author puts their characters through. And as an author, I want to captivate with my writing. I want to thrill. I want to surprise and safeguard all of those hopes and dreams of readers out there.

I hope Chasing Fae will do that for a lot of people who are just like me.

I hope you will be a part of the journey. Thank you for reading. Happy writing.

Chasing Fae: New Things To Listen To

Hey everybody! Popping in to say hello on a Tuesday! I wanted to reach out today and offer two brand new links of new listening material for you all.

Recent Podcast Appearance

Last Thursday, I had the privilege to have a wonderful conversation on my good friend, Eddie’s podcast series, The Weekly Grind. We had a fantastic time talking about writing, his current work, and my upcoming debut novel, Chasing Fae. I would love it if you guys would take a listen!

Chasing Fae Official Playlist

I’ve been itching to share something unique, so today I’m making my official Chasing Fae playlist public! Each song on this Spotify playlist corresponds to a specific chapter or a specific scene. I used many of this songs to draft various important moments in the book. I’ll be releasing more details and descriptions of each song and its significance via my beta reader community soon. So if you haven’t yet purchased a copy of Chasing Fae,  I would highly recommend picking that up soon right here!

That’s all for today! More updates to come. Happy writing, everyone.

What To Consider When Starting A Sequel

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

Hello everyone! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe during this chaotic time in the world. My family and I have been practicing social distancing for the last week now, and we have been doing the best we can to fill up the time. I have been working on lots of outreach this week for my preorders as well as starting the sequel to Chasing Fae, tentatively titled Chasing War. I have also been spending lots of time with my sister playing board games and working on some creative projects together. Online classes start on Monday, and it’s definitely going to be… interesting. I hope everything turns out alright.

Today, I want to talk a little bit of my experience in starting this sequel and some tips on how to start your second book as a continuation of the story in your first. I think it’s an interesting topic that I haven’t touched on yet in terms of working with a fantasy series.

Starting Chasing War

I have tried to start this sequel three times since I finished Chasing Fae. Which is pretty amusing to me because based on the outline I’ve created, this book of the trilogy is probably going to be my favorite to write. The first time was during NaNoWriMo where I got extremely ill and ended up having to cancel my attempt while I recovered. The second time, I ended up having intense midterm exams and papers that all coincided with each other. Finally, I’m having an opportunity to write during this period of isolation at home. But even now, I’m having a little trouble.

I think the simple explanation is that somehow I’ve forgotten what it’s like to write the first draft. Which brings me to my first major tip of writing your first sequel:

Don’t Forget That The First Draft Will Not Look Like Your FINISHED First Book.

The first draft is inherently flawed. And that’s okay! That’s more than okay! The first draft is about having something solid to build off of and modify and evolve into something incredible. Try to remember that your first book takes months and months and maybe even years to complete. The first draft will not represent the extent of what you can produce. Remember that. I’m trying to!

Your sequel should have its own arc.

While your sequel does build off the previous book, each book needs to have its own unique arc that gets wrapped up by the end of the story. Remember, your reader wants to see something new out of your characters and out of your universe. Your main character needs to take another transformative journey and evolve as a person. You will see the world in your novel change, sometimes in subtle ways and other times in dramatic times like the outbreak of war or a widespread disaster. Feel free to let your imagination run wild!

Bring New Characters To The Table

Time to create new voices! One of the best parts about writing a sequel, in my opinion, is to add new characters to the mix. There is always a new character or group of characters that comes in and shakes things up. Personally, I have a whole host of new voices that are going to change everything for Grace, and they are going to cause a LOT of trouble. Trust me.

Don’t be afraid to start something new. Happy writing, everybody!

Oh! And if you haven’t checked out my preorder campaign for my debut novel, Chasing Fae, please click here to learn more!

My Experience With My Publisher So Far

Hello everybody! I’m back!

It has been a crazy three weeks, but I am finally back to tell the tale. First, I had a crazy couple of weeks of midterm exams and papers to finish. I worked so many hours on those assignments, and so far, they’ve turned out okay. Got a B- on my Irish Archaeology exam (which was awesome!) and an A- on my Medieval European History paper. I am pleased with both and am anxiously awaiting the results from other classes.

Then I finally got to take a little vacation in Austin, Texas to visit my boyfriend, Daniel. I hadn’t seen him since October; I have missed him so much. We spent four wonderful days together. We went out a few times, but mostly stayed in to cook together, play Smash Bros, and binge watch Gravity Falls. And cuddle. <3 I think the best part of being in a relationship is being able to hug someone else super tightly and hold them forever.

Then I flew to Orlando to meet my family at Disney World, left Disney World because of coronavirus concerns, my college is shut down until at least April 3rd, I had to find a way to get all my meds that I need for my asthma, and now I’m home practicing social distancing and trying not to panic too much.

So, yeah. It’s been a busy time.

But now to the point…

But today! I am here to talk to you about updates with New Degree Press and the upcoming publication of Chasing Fae.

Now that I am under contract, things have actually been moving pretty quickly. I met my Acquisitions Editor, Jordana, who is in the process of reading my manuscript and offering her insights. I am very excited to hear from her soon. This is the first time I will be receiving professional feedback on the entirety of the book, and I am sincerely hoping that she has a lot of ideas to offer.

Last week, I also met my Marketing and Revisions Editor, Kristy Carter. She is the one I will be working with from day to day, and wow, am I glad to have her around. Although we’ve only had a few conversations so far, I can tell that we are going to get along very well. She’s an urban fantasy author and a kindred spirit. I feel comfortable with her presence, and she’s managed to get me a lot of the information that I have asked for early. As somebody who is so ready to just dive into everything, I really appreciate this. I am looking forward to her ideas for the book as well.

Last night, I got to watch my promo video for the first time. Honestly, it looks amazing! The footage that was chosen, both the pieces I recorded and the stock footage the editing team chose, was quite masterful. The pieces depicting the world itself are just spot on. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I did notice a couple of small typos, but those are being fixed currently. I’m not sure if I will continue with the slightly flawed version and proceed on schedule with the preorder launch or if I should hold off until the new video is complete.

Which leads me to the next point….

Chasing Fae’s Pre-Order Launch

Chasing Fae will be out for pre-order this coming week! I’m thinking it’s going to be Monday or Tuesday. On that day, I will be posting the link to the campaign on IndieGoGo everywhere! The website, the newsletter, all the social media platforms, and in as many other places as I can find to post it. If you want to be one of the first to know, make sure you subscribe to Fluff About Fantasy! These exclusive signed copies will only be available for thirty days, so make sure to act fast.

This is honestly the most amazing accomplishment of my entire life. This book means the absolute world to me, and I cannot wait to share it with the rest of the world.

Stay safe, everyone. Happy writing!

Character Tribute: Leo

Yes, I know this is Timothée Chalamet, but this is exactly who I envision playing Leo in a future Chasing Fae movie. So deal with it. xD

Here lies Leo Donovan Richardson, a kind soldier and a loving brother. May the Lady guide his soul.

My brother, Leo, was the kindest, most compassionate man that I have ever met. He never hesitated to do what was right no matter what that meant. Leo taught me absolutely everything I know. We were homeschooled together, and he loved to teach me about the book he was reading or how to navigate with a map. He wasn’t just my brother; he was my best friend. We did everything together growing up.

When Leo decided to become a soldier, my mother and I were both terrified. She tried to respectfully talk him out of it whereas I threw a fit and stormed out. I was just scared. Anything could happen out on the roads in this realm. He could have been sent to a peaceful town, or he could be sent south to the farm country where they’re fighting for whatever scraps they can get and they don’t care who gets killed. But he held out against both of us. Started training the day he turned eighteen and never looked back.

I was sixteen and he, nineteen when he was first hired to run security out in the trading ports of Bay Point. We cried when he left home, promising to be home in the spring. But we rejoiced when he sent home his first paycheck, and we could afford new clothes and fresh fruit from the market. Leo sent home every copper outside of his own expenses home to us. He had always said he wanted to take care of us someday like Mom had for all these years on her own, and finally, he had the chance.

Leo bounced around from job to job until six months ago, when he was summoned to city hall with the other mercenaries in his company. I thought maybe the government wanted to offer him a job, but no. It was the higher higher-ups. The Fae. The Fae have always had a hand in the politics of the Middle Realm; they control the alliances, the trade, the resource distribution. And they all just sit up there in the Upper Realm in their fancy castles and their bountiful homes with their magic and just watch us all run around down here like ants. The Fae needed their worker ants, a group of mortal soldiers, to come run security for a top-secret operation in the House of the Sun. They offered more money than anyone in this realm had ever even heard of, and of course, Leo jumped at the chance.

One more assignment, he said, and then he would be home for the Winter Solstice. Just one more assignment, and he’d bring me back something nice for the celebration. Just one more assignment.

Rest in peace, brother.

Marketing Yourself Online

Hey everybody! Today, I want to share advice about marketing yourself online. I think this topic touches many different disciplines outside of writing, and it is an important subject to discuss. Over the last couple weeks, I have stepped up my social media presence and the construction of my brand. I have been hearing a lot of questions around Twitter and around my own campus about what it takes to build your brand online and market yourself. So let’s talk about that today and shed some light on the subject.

When should I start building my brand?

In my opinion, it’s never too early to start, especially if you’re a writer. You can start by bringing your audience into your writing process. Let them see how your work in progress is faring. Share your successes as well as your failures. What scene is being written really well today? Which chapter is giving your writer’s block? Your book or project does not have to be finished in order to talk about it or start a discussion about the topic.

Where should I start building my brand?

Everywhere!

Well… everywhere with conditions. Everywhere you have time to put time into and everywhere that you can reach people who want to hear what you have to say. Depending on your genre of writing or your area of expertise, different platforms may suit your needs while others don’t.

I think everyone should build a website. With platforms like WordPress and Wix available right now, it is very easy to build something beautiful with minimal technical knowledge. Free plans do offer you a decent amount of customization options, and if you choose to upgrade to a paid plan, your options expand greatly. Take a couple hours and think your website through. Add tabs for your current project or projects as well as any published material you have out already. Consider adding a blog that you can update semi-frequently. And don’t forget an “about me” page! Think about your colors and your layout because believe it or not, every little detail can be a part of building your band.

Special Subsection: Social Media

You must also consider what social media platforms you want to use. Again, you should try to pick places that will reach the audience you want to communicate with. This is going to require a bit of research on your part. Find out where your people are. And don’t be afraid to change it up after a few months if you find one place is working better than another! Or don’t be afraid to wait it out. My Pinterest account that I created to show off inspiration for the world my book is set in wasn’t doing much for the first few months. But within the last two months, I have seen a dramatic increase in traffic from Pinterest to my website as well as an increase in people saving pictures to their board.

How should I market myself?

This part is easy. Way easier than you think.

Be yourself.

Relax and be yourself!

Share pieces of your life. Share your goals and your aspirations. Write posts about your writing, your daily life, and your favorite moments. Ask questions! Starting discussions is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and meet new people.

Post frequently. Doesn’t necessarily have to be every platform every day, but invest actual time and effort into this. You need to in order to see great results.

And have fun with it! Experiment and try new things, but always keep it true to yourself and the way you want people to see you.

Happy marketing!

Worldbuilding: An Interesting Approach

Hey everybody! Welcome back to Fluff About Fantasy on another wonderful Saturday. I signed my publishing contract on Thursday, and I can’t wait to get started this coming week with the publishing process! It’s so exciting. Today, I want to talk about worldbuilding! This is one of my favorite topics to talk about, and I haven’t written about it in a while. At Fluff About Fantasy, I have touched on questions to shape your world, naming places, and drawing out your own maps, to name a few. Today, I want to talk about a technique that spurred my creation of the Twelve Houses in the Upper Realm. I hope it will inspire you too!

The Twelve Houses

Now, just for a brief recap if you haven’t read about my universe yet: the Upper Realm in Chasing Fae is made up of twelve noble houses that have control over different portions of the land. Think of it like twelve separate kingdoms, but lorddoms instead. (That is actually a word! It’s a very old word, but it’s a word.) When I first began conceptualizing these, I wanted them to be distinct lands with their own cultures. There would be similarities between them like the agricultural production of one area in comparison with another and the governmental style. But the intimate details of each House would be unique to that area.

To accomplish this, I chose to pick one element that would be the essence of the House and then build every other detail of the culture around it. I really like using this method because it allows all of the details to fit together cohesively. Let me give you an example.

The House of the Evening

This is my favorite of all the Houses that I’ve created, and it is the one that I personally would want to live in the most. I wanted to make sure that the House of the Moon and the House of the Evening were very different places, so I let the House of the Moon center around the mystical, magical properties of the moon in terms of spell-casting. That created a more intimate, mystical society with priestesses and one of the highest concentrations of magic in the entire Upper Realm. For the House of the Evening, I decided to go with nightlife.

I grew up with my dad taking me to bars and restaurants to listen to live music most weekends. I fell in love with the atmosphere. Even as an introvert, there’s something about blending in with a crowd that’s all tapped in to the same rhythm, the same beat. It was the same thing at school dances; sometimes the animosity between people can disappear for a night when the bass is turned up loud and everyone’s jumping up and down to their favorite song. I wanted to capture that feeling in the House of the Evening.

The House of the Evening has the best nightlife and the best festivals you will find in the entire Upper Realm. Every night, there’s live music pouring out of every tavern. This is the place young musicians come to try their hand at the craft. You can travel all over the land and hear every genre of music you can think of. There are shops for craftsman instruments of all kinds, but particularly violins. (This becomes relevant in the series.) The House of the Evening brews the best beer and grow grapes to create amazing fine wines. People in the House of the Evening go about their own lives during the day, whether that’s in the home or out at their job. But in the evening, everybody comes together to spend time out on the town. Community comes alive in the nighttime. It’s late nights and late mornings in the House of the Evening. Looking over the towns at night lit by candlelight or tiny fairy lights, looking up at the purple hued mountains covered in snow, it’s just beautiful.

Thanks for reading, everybody. If you’re curious about the House of the Evening, you can read a profile here!

A Lot of Announcements

Hey everybody! I’m back to writing one post a week now, and I have to say, as much as I loved the anniversary week, I was overwhelmed! It will be nice to have more time to formulate ideas and continue to write solid advice for young writers.

That being said, for this week, there are so many announcements that I have to spend an entire post on them. But there are some fantastic new developments that you are going to want to know about.

#1: Publishing Update!

Yesterday, I met my publishing coordinator at New Degree Press, Jamie! I had been (admittedly) very anxious all week, waiting to hear from him. I needed more confirmation that this whole publishing thing is really real and I hadn’t imagined it somehow. But meeting him took a huge weight off my shoulders, and right off the bat, things are moving along! I’m receiving my publishing agreement to look over this weekend, and a package just arrived for me with the equipment that I’ll need to film my promotional video THIS WEEK! That’s so soon! I am due to send my footage back to them by this coming Friday. Can’t wait to update you on how that goes.

And speaking of, if you’re looking for consistent publishing updates, you should sign up for the new….

#2: Fluff About Fantasy Newsletter!

If you are currently subscribed to Fluff About Fantasy, great news! You’re already signed up to receive this upcoming publication this coming Tuesday. The Fluff About Fantasy Newsletter will be sent out every first and third Tuesday of the month to give me plenty of time to write for it and update it continuously. Here’s what you’ll be seeing:

  • What I’m Up To This Week
  • Recent Posts
  • This Week In Publishing News
  • Historical Fact of the Week (because I’m a history major, and I will educate you all!)
  • Quote from Chasing Fae: You will get to see some of my current favorite quotes from my upcoming novel, including some that I may write during the revision process!

Subscribe here if you’d like to receive this newsletter bimonthly!

#3: Chasing Fae Facebook Group

In case I needed another thing on my plate, I’ve decided to launch a Facebook Group dedicated to Chasing Fae. I spent the last few days reading about how effective it can be to launch a Facebook Group dedicated to your book series to gather fans together and how to execute it. I’ve got a lot of great ideas, guys, and I signed up for social media management tools to keep this all straight. Here’s a preview of what you’ll expect to see:

Welcome to the Facebook Group for Chasing Fae, a young adult fantasy novel coming soon in July 2020! Here, you’ll find updates about the publishing process and in-depth information about the characters and the world that you won’t find anywhere else. Learn more about the process of brainstorming for, drafting, and revising fantasy novels from a young writer who’s learning at the same time. Get inspired, and share your stories here with us.

Cool, right? This endeavor is definitely going to be a learning curve, but then again, hasn’t everything I’ve done this year been a learning curve? I want to try out everything I possibly can as I navigate the process from taking Chasing Fae from a draft on my computer to a physical book that people are going to hold in their hands. This is just the next step in taking my book where I want it to be. I hope you all will take part in that journey with me. Click here to join!

Next week: expect a post on writing fantasy! In the meantime, happy writing everybody!

Happy Anniversary! Fluff About Fantasy’s First Year Stats

A potential author picture for inside the cover of Chasing Fae

Hooray! Today marks Fluff About Fantasy’s one year anniversary and the website’s one hundredth post!

I am so proud of what I have been able to accomplish in the last year. I’ve grown such a vast audience in such a short amount of time, and I want to thank all of my readers who have been with me since the beginning. I have immensely enjoyed contributing stories about my experiences writing fantasy and what I have learned along the way. This is one of my favorite projects to work on during the week, and your support is immensely appreciated. To celebrate, I wanted to share with you the stats of all of my and Fluff About Fantasy’s platform from the first year. Tracking the progress has been really fun; I’m so happy with how far I’ve come as a person and as a writer through this site.

Without further ado:

fluffaboutfantasy.com

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • One post per week
  • 100 posts!
  • 60 subscribers–> 44 WordPress followers, 16 email followers
  • Guest Posts: Daniel Sage, Lydia Lee
  • Interviews: Elias Alam
  • Approximately 50 visitors a week
  • Created Free Revision Checklist for Beginners – not getting a lot of takers so far. STILL AVAILABLE!
  • Listed on Feedspot’s Top 60 Fantasy Book Blogs And Websites For Fantasy Readers and Authors from July 2019 through January 2020 (present).
  • 58 Countries in the first year (in order of number of views): United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, China, Australia, Bangladesh, Philippines, Germany, Sri Lanka, France, India, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Poland, Taiwan, Macedonia, Iceland, Nigeria, Sweden, Brazil, Finland, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Hungary, Romania, Pakistan, Armenia, Thailand, Jamaica, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Aruba, Mexico, Croatia, Vietnam, Russia, Uruguay, Israel, Guernsey, Tanzania, Indonesia, Austria, Norway, Morocco, Chile, Italy, Lithuania.
  • 2608 total views: 74% US, 7% UK, 3% Canada, 2% Ireland, 2% China, 12% everywhere else.

Facebook

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • Posts about every blog posts.
  • Only a small number of unique posts so far – usually only for major announcements
  • Facebook Live Q&A session coming soon!
  • 83 followers

Twitter

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • 4405 followers
  • Impressions in the 50k per month range
  • In the last three months
    • 250.5k impressions
    • 2.2% engagement
    • 1 link click per day
    • 3 retweets per day
    • 52 likes per day
    • 8 replies per day

Instagram

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • All blog posts linked!
  • Regular updates
  • Instagram Live session coming soon!
  • 128 followers

Pinterest

Current Status (as of midnight 1/27/20)

  • All blog posts pinned
  • 9 followers
  • Inspiration boards for each House semi-regularly updated with new ideas
  • Pinterest stats fluctuate so much, but currently seeing 7.6k Monthly viewers

If you’re not already keeping up with me and Fluff About Fantasy on all of the social media platforms, make sure to follow, like, and subscribe! Chasing Fae is due to be released July 2020, and you’ll want to be the first to hear all the publishing updates. Much love to everyone, and happy writing!