Monthly Highlights - March 2017

March 31, 2017

   So the last day of March (and the fact that I needed to do a highlights post) nearly passed me by because my mind is so full of all the things that need to be done before Camp NaNoWriMo that I still haven't done. But I shall survive, and you guys will still get a Monthly Highlights post.

   Let's do this thing. 

March 2017 Highlights Header

   So March was definitely a less busy month, as far as months go. I got a lot done - though, not much of it can go in the 'monthly highlights' section, because a lot of it had to deal with writing. Go figure ;). But some interesting things besides writing did happen in March ...   

   - Apparently I hit 90 followers this month (email and GFC)?! You guys are the best. <3

   - I won some books from participating in an Indie E-Con, and so I will have some beautiful little incentives to keep me writing during Camp NaNoWriMo. Or perhaps my idea of bribing myself to write with books will backfire and I'll end up in a corner reading while my wordcount suffers terribly. Who can tell *shrugs*.
   - I made more of a set-in-stone plan for what I'm going to do with Killing Snow this year, and I'm MADLY excited about it xD.

   - I realized that, out of all my 90+ books that I own, very few of them are dystopian and my current WIP (Killing Snow) is quite dystopian/sci-fi. This fact is sad. This fact needs to be fixed. Know of any good dystopian or sci-fi books, anyone? xD

   - I had an accidental NaNoWrimo. My wordgoal that I set for myself this month was 15k - and guess what? I hit 49,348 words (including the words I wrote in my incredibly-detailed story outline). I would have written those last few words to hit 50k, but I told myself that I would take a little break before Camp NaNoWriMo comes around, because I burn out fast xD. 
    Also, Killing Snow (my current WIP) was sort of slaying me slowly throughout the whole month. And (as the girls in my chat call me Sav) some of my friends wondered if it could have been better titled ...

   - I finished the outline for novel Killing Snow. It's incredibly detailed (for me, at least), and it's just over 6k words long. But now I have a path to follow when I rewrite Killing Snow into a novel, instead of traipsing around in the wilderness and getting hopelessly lost and probably killed. xD

   - I've been getting majorly attacked by plot bunnies. Why does this always happen to me right when I actually have a legit project that I need to get done?
   Some of said plot bunnies include; a retelling of the 100 Dresses (which probably won't get written, because its poor plot bunny is slowly dying, but you never know) and two books entitled 'All That Haunts' and 'Death Comes Early'. They want to be written, so I scribbled down the titles and one-sentence hooks for them in a document and immediately shoved it aside so that I don't get distracted during Camp NaNoWriMo.

   Okay, I should get onto sharing a snippet, otherwise more plot bunnies are going to wiggle their way into my brain. That won't be helpful. Moving on (basically unedited work, as usual - and I took out a name because #spoilers)...

A snippet from Killing Snow by Savannah Grace

   *cringes because those covers look terrible together* Three of those were actually schoolbooks (A Tale Of Two Cities, Animal Farm, and Pride And Prejudice) but I included them anyways because they're fiction books, so they kind of count. Anyways ...

   - A Branch Of Silver, A Branch Of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Definitely the best book I read this month - and it was reread at that! But gracious do I love this thing. It's beautiful and strange and magical and all-around wonderful. Her writing style is unique and I LOVE it <3. Also, the characters are GOALS, each and every one of them. This is most definitely a book that I'll be rereading again (what is this phenomenon?!), so I give it a full five stars. 

   - Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen. Not a book I would have chosen to read (Emma was the first Jane Austen book that I tried to read, and I ended up being like 'uh ... nope' and putting it down because classic, older books and me almost never ever click. Sadly.) - but school decided that I should, so I did. Not the best, not the worst, but THE CHARACTERS (who's already guessed that that was what I was going to say?). Seriously, Jane Austen did an amazing job with her characters, I really admired that. So this book gets 3 1/2 stars.

- Literary agent Tessa Emily Hall was (is?) searching for new authors to represent. Sadly, I didn't fill the "finished novel" qualification xD. Someday soon!

- The lovely Mary Horton started a new blog! (this post is one of my favorites from it)

- More Burning Youth posts. Obviously. Like this. And this. *flails over the wonderfulness of BY*  (also this because it basically shares the title of a gorgeous song my sister wrote + composed and I kind of stared at it in shock for 1.7 minutes when it came through my Blogger feed)

- Morgan LuaAnn posted some of her favorite artwork and OH MY was I hit with all the story inspiration.

- Hannah White did a post about writing pitches that was incredibly helpful and that I badly needed xD.

- One of my favorite blogs in the blogosphere, Musing Of An Elf, celebrated its SIXTH YEAR of being a blog. This seems like an impossibly and wonderfully long time to be blogging to me :D. (also, Christine did a post about her epic character, the Dragon, from her Burning Thorns novel and I may or may not have squealed wildly over the whole post and I may or may not have failed to comment because #whereistime *smacks myself* xD)

- Deborah O' Carroll did one and two posts about how to read a Diana Wynne Jones book, and I LOVE them both to death and now desperately need to read another DWJ book (preferably Howl's Moving Castle, because it's my favorite <3).

- Audrey Caylin did a beautiful post entitled 'To My Fellow Dreamers'.

- Tracey Dyck graced us with some of her gorgeous writing and my only response is 'how is she this good'? xD

- Abbie did another music video and it is beautiful and GLORIOUS and I love it and all of you should go check it out *shoos you away*. 

   Well ... there won't be as many ramblings as usual, seeing as Camp NaNoWriMo is going to take over life for awhile. So there will probably only be three or four-ish posts in April, and I won't be bouncing around on the blogosphere so much (*cringes because I'm already behind when it comes to comments*). But at least I won't die :D.

   - How To Liven Up Your: Main Character is probably going to be coming. I think we have ... about four posts left in this series? That could change, but there it is.

   - A review of Jesseca Wheaton's A Question Of Honor, which looks like it's going to be AH-MAZING.

   So there's my March in a nutshell, and now I shall bid you adieu and race off to the land of insanity. Camp NaNoWriMo is upon us in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... 

~ Savannah Grace 

   How was your March? Do you have any suggestions for good dystopian/sci-fi books? What are your plans for April, writer-ly or otherwise?

Writing Lessons From: Lord Of The Rings

March 26, 2017

   So my lovely friend Ellen (whom I know in real life, so she is an awesome bean) emailed me to remind me that March 25th is a big day in the realm of Middle Earth and, being a fan, she said that I should do a post. (and look! ... I managed to be a day late. Go figure)

   Which resulted in me doing battle with my goldfish brain, because I wanted to post! but ... it normally takes a few days of brainstorming to come up with anything coherent.

   But we're changing up the rules. *insert very last-minute post that I scrambled to put together* Have fun with this, y'all - and do go read the posts that my friends Ellen and Hanna did about Hobbits ;).    

1. Worldbuilding

via Google Images
Who can talk about Lord Of The Rings without talking about worldbuilding? (not me, apparently) Worldbuilding is not my strong suit - all of my story-scenery gets stuck in my head and refuses to drift down onto paper - so I'm especially in awe of the massive world that Tolkien created.
   Rohan, Mordor, the Shire, Gondor - not only are they all extremely different, ranging from volcanic terrain to bright green meadows, but they each have their own "feel" as well. The Shire is laid back and calm, and everyone is friends with everyone, while Gondor is more of what you would expect a medieval city to be like. I can barely get one extremely small area of my story-world to work itself out, so there's a lot that can be learned from the world of Middle Earth.
   Does your characters travel over many different terrains in your storyworld? Try to give every area a different look and feel. 

2. Fully-Crafted Languages 

   I can't be the only Tolkien fan who has learned a bit of the Sindarin language, can I be? (im agor hartha al) I can't really speak it (pfft, I can barely speak English, I fumble with words so much), but I can write it, and it's a lot of fun ;). Tolkien created an entire language for not only elves - they have both the Quenya and the Sindarin language - but he created a language for the dwarves, as well!
   This added a whole new level of creativity to his stories - and a whole new level of "addicted" for us fans to reach ;).
   Does your novel have people that speak in a language you made up? Make sure to create it fully enough that it can pass off as a well-crafted language.   

3. Likable Characters

via Google Images
   As if I haven't talked enough about characters from Lord Of The Rings in my character building series already xD. So I'll keep this point short - Tolkien managed to make each and every one of his (good) characters likeable. We love Sam for his loyalty, Frodo for his courage, Merry for his determination, and Pippin for his lighthearted-ness. And that's only the Hobbits! Not to mention Aragorn, Arwen, Legolas ... *refrains from going on*
   Everyone who has read Lord Of The Rings has a favorite character (or at least a favorite three characters) - but you could basically point out any character for me, and I could say that I love them. Because not only are the characters easy to get attached to, they're incredibly fully fleshed-out as well. And that's very important to this character-oriented girl ;).
   Does your novel have a big cast of characters? Try to pick a specific quality for each of them that will make them especially lovable - loyalty, courage, determination, sweetness, loopy-ness (everyone loves a character that's a little off their rocker), mostly anything goes when it comes to creating likeable characters!   

4. Tolkien Created Cliches

 created a lot of cliches. If you sent characters off on a quest that has anything to do with a powerful ring, I'm guessing a lot of people would think that you were either retelling or copying Lord Of The Rings.
  If Tolkien's trilogy had been created now, it would definitely be tagged as cliche, but back then? No one had written anything like this - Tolkien
   But what does this mean for us? Well, Tolkien is considered one of the masters of storytelling - and he certainly went out on a limb when he wrote his stories. Nothing had been done like this before! And that should inspire us to never decide not to write something because we think it is too different, too weird, too strange. Going out on a limb is what got Tolkien to where he is.
  What incredibly different aspects does your story have? Never be afraid to add something in that seems crazy - because maybe it will be your best choice ever, and maybe you'll create the next cliche.     
   There's a million and one things that we could learn from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy - It's definitely on my list of books that I will continue to re-read, and it's definitely on my list of movies that I'll continue to re-watch. (and this post is definitely on my list of last-minute things *cough* xD)

~ Savannah Grace 

   Have you ever read Lord Of The Rings before? What are some of the writing lessons that you have learned through it? Have you ever created a language for one of your stories?

Interview With Authoress Anika Joy

March 23, 2017

   So you really know my brain is fried when I misread the date on which I'm supposed to post for a blog tour. I feel like a terrible human bean, but I suppose it happens to the best of us. (why has my brain been fried, you ask? Because I've been all wrapped up in the Indie E-Con that's going on - go check it out! There's still two days left of it)

   Anyways - today I'm interviewing Anika Joy as part of the blog tour for her new book, Penny's New Beginning, a mermaid story geared towards ages 6-12. On to the interview that should have been posted yesterday ...

Savannah: When did you get the idea for this book?

Anika: I really loved the movie The Little Mermaid when I was 9, and I wanted to write something like that for my first story. I can't remember where I got the idea for the plot or the characters, but it was a while ago... :)
Savannah: How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Anika: Somewhere around 2 months. I was a slow writer back then (and I kinda still am). :P

Savannah: Why did you decide to self-publish?

Anika: I chose self publishing because I wanted to publish it fast and without a lot of hassle. I think it is a little bit easier. :D 

Savannah: What do you think are the pros and cons of self publishing?

Anika: Pros: You get to pick your own deadline, have everything in your control, and it's really independent.
Cons: It's very independent. You need to do everything yourself and figure things out yourself. It can get really hard to do.

Savannah: What do you hope to do with your writings from here? Do you plan to publish more books? 

Anika: Yes, I do plan to publish more books. I am in the middle of rewriting the MG book I wrote when I was 10, and I believe that I would like to send that in to a traditional publisher. I already have an agent in mind (Tess Emily Hall) and am so excited to finish editing this novella. :D

Savannah: Sounds awesome! I think it's really cool that you're already publishing when you're so young. It was fun to have you here! 


Can they save Utopia?

Nine-year-old Penny Hearting has just moved to Nassau with her family, and is completely convinced that a mermaid rescued her from drowning, but no one believes her. So, she takes matters into her own hands and goes on a search for the mermaid that rescued her.

Ten-year-old Emmy is the princess of Utopia, an underwater city populated by mermaids. But, when her evil aunt, Cassandra, takes the city from her father, the King, her only option is to seek help from the girl who she rescued from drowning.

When these two lives collide, can they and another friend save their homes from disaster?


   Anika Joy is a daughter, sister, and child of the one true King. She loves to write books, sing in choir, and bake treats for her family.  At the age of 4 she taught herself to read and wrote her first short story when she was 8. That story was later published in a kid’s magazine when she was 11, which sparked her dream of becoming a published author. She is now very happy to see that dream come true.
   Anika currently lives with her two sisters, two brothers, and parents in North Dakota, and feels very blessed to be awaiting the arrival of another little sister.


   Anika's book, Penny's New Beginning, is geared towards ages 6-12, so do go check it out if you have younger siblings that might enjoy it ;). I hope you guys enjoyed the interview! Sorry for neglecting my poor blog during this last week - I'll try to catch up :D.

~ Savannah Grace

    What do you think are the pros and cons of self vs. traditional publishing?