Tag Archives: Ex Machina

#SATurdate: Witch, Writer Madness, Fairyland, & Rooftops

5 Mar

This is covering two weeks of life, since last week was all about those Website Wonders, which means it’s a tad longer than usual, but I hope you enjoy all the craziness.

What I’m Writing:

12795183_991891044191410_185453795754929210_oI’ll tell you what. When a character reveals a plot twist you didn’t have planned AT ALL 40,000 words in, it changes things. Like, REALLY changes thing. Sticky Notes must have been made by the writing gods. I’m going to be honest. I’m going writer crazy. I’m working on Take Me Yesterday, but I’m also fine-tuning a novel I’ll refer to as “D.” I’m on D’s fourth draft…and I’m about to try to tackle it a fifth time. My main issue is the beginning—how to tackle that first chapter so it’s both exciting and showcases what readers will see throughout the novel—especially since most of the novel takes place in an entirely different universe/dimension than the first chapter. It’s much harder than it sounds, but I think I’ve FINALLY figured out a missing piece, and I’ve been obsessing over it ever since. That being said, there’s one more book. (I don’t normally write numerous things at once, but I am right now.) This is a completely new novel, too. It’s more or less to help me clear my head by working on something unrelated to publishing. (Not that it doesn’t have future potential, but sometimes a fresh project is a nice step away from the pressure of deadlines.) So there you have it. I’m writing three novels right now. I’m 40,000 words in Take Me Yesterday, playing around with the first 10,000 words of D, and outlining a new one. (So far, I’ve even written the first chapter). Here’s to the unknown! If you’re wondering what D is about, here’s your first clue.

What I’m Publishing:

I received my reviewer packet for Bad Bloods! That means book bloggers should get ready! Reviewers will be chosen soon. Also, I picked out sections for future teasers this week…and falling really far behind on my keywords. But I think I’ll be sharing prequel stories leading up to the release of Bad Bloods via Wattpad, probably starting in April.

One week’s #1lineWed preview theme was nicknames, and here was the favorited tweet.

That being said, this isn’t necessarily a “sneak peek” of Bad Bloods. This is actually a direct quote from an origin story. I wrote about 13 origin stories to get my characters figured out and outlined the other 13. (Bad Bloods has 24 characters in the two flocks of bad bloods alone.) This quote happens between Adam and Daniel during Violet’s origin story. Daniel is a protagonist in Bad Bloods, and Adam is, more or less, his sidekick. (Adam actually rejoices in this term.) Perhaps I’ll share these origin stories before the release date. I might be sending one out in a newsletter. We will see. 😉

Another week’s #1lineWed theme was “need.”

This is a direct quote from Bad Bloods, but that’s all I’ll say about that. 😉

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

smI read and finished Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 11 and V. 12 by Naoko Takeuchi. You all know I’m a Sailor Moon junkie through and through, but you can read my full reviews here and here. These volumes conclude the manga. 

I also finished The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. You can read my review by clicking here. It’s a great read! It’s honest, it’s fantastical, it’s flowery, and it’s fun.

I also read How To Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace by Frank M. Ahearn (which is exactly how it sounds) and Liar by Rob Roberge, a memoir about addiction and mental health. How To Disappear is hilarious and informative, while Liar is heavy but interesting. I’ve done TERRIBLY at writing book reviews, but I promise to get back on that shortly…but after I obsess over my new Variety Puzzles magazine.

What I’m Listening To:

The sound of my rolling chair in my office as I roll back and forth between my desk and Sticky Notes and my table…and sometimes my bar. 😉

What I’m Watching:

MV5BMTY4MTU2NjMyNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzUwMDk4NzE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_I went to the theatre to see The Witch! It takes traditional tales of pilgrims and their relationship with religion, the woods, and folklore, and puts it to the test. To me, it was about the descent of madness and sin, and although I’m not generally into overly intense religious messages, Witch wasn’t too bad. I was SERIOUSLY impressed by Harvey Scrimshaw’s monologue scene. He blew me away. That being said, this movie is most definitely a film. It’s not a horror story or a simple paranormal date night movie to see for fun. It’s an actual story, so expect that rather than The Conjuring. Annnddd, because I heard a lot of people complaining about this, it is in Old English, which can make it hard to understand sometimes. I didn’t have an issue, but I also studied Old English extensively in college. Whether or not that was why, I don’t know, but check it out if you want a twisted story of madness.

I also binge-watched Sword Art Online, because it makes me cry, and I started Fate/Night because the lovely Kathy Lynn Cross suggested it. Check out her novels! She is awesome. And, of course, I watched the Oscars. Way to go, Leo! (But I have to say, I was most happy that Ex Machina and Alicia won an award.)

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I did made an awesome Skinny Mexican Casserole and venison chili. For dessert, I baked a bunch of dark chocolate chip cookies. (I tend to do this also.) I also bought a bento box, so…NOM.

What I’m Wearing:

12794413_993634640683717_8444677203559547088_nChillin’ socks, featuring penguins.

What I’m Wanting:

The Winner’s Kiss and Lady Midnight! We’re so close! I also cannot wait to read The Hate U Give by Angela Thomas.

“The Hate U Give tells the story of 16-year-old Starr, who navigates between the poverty-stricken slum she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is an eyewitness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.” – Publisher’s Weekly

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So I created a potion to take down aliens? But they looked like people, and they were after my entire family, so I was hiding…in my own house. (My dreams don’t make sense.) This is when an alien general found me. His name was Steve and he wore a suit. I laughed at him and told him that he’d never get credit for catching me, because his leader wanted to catch me, and I was right. When Steve took me outside, everyone pretended not to see, so Steve freaked out, thinking that the leader would kill him just so he could take all of the credit. So, naturally, Steve joined my side to help me escape right as his alien leader pulls up in a GIANT red pickup. (Don’t ask. I’m not sure why either.) We run around the house packing (because I guess we have the time to do this), and at one point, Steve starts drinking all of my aunt’s whiskey, and I yell at him that it isn’t his, to which he points out that my aunt would probably not care under such circumstances. But I still argue, because it’s her favorite limited-edition MAPLE whiskey. (Gross.) And he shrugs and drinks it anyway. I give up, finish packing, and right as his red-pickup-truck-driving leader bursts in, we make a run for the woods and escape…whiskey in hand. And still arguing about him drinking it.

What Else Is Going On:

12802846_991310444249470_6291603099732911419_nWe had REALLY nice weather, so I practically lived on my roof for a few days. (I’m a rooftop writer…which terrifies my neighbors.) It was particularly funny this time around, because they haven’t seen me up on the roof since fall, and the grandson visiting my neighbor started screaming about cats being on the roof. (Because I take my cats up there with me.) Of course the grandfather was like, “That’s impossible—” ::turns around:: “Oh, it’s you again.”

Me ::waves enthusiastically:: “Hi, Jeff.” Don’t worry. Just me being strange.

I also learned a lot watching your lesson on how to kill termites.

~SAT

I want to give a big shout out to Crazy Beautiful Reads for being the sweetest book reviewer there is. Seriously, never hesitate to tweet/message/e-mail me. You all make my day/night/life.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#SATurday: Content Disclosures for Novels

16 May

#SATurday: Content Disclosures for Novels

This past Wednesday, my content disclosure tree for Minutes Before Sunset released by Clean Teen Publishing. What is a content disclosure tree? Well, I’ll leave that up to my publisher to define on their website. (Click here to read the definition. Click here to read my full content disclosure tree.) I suggest reading both before continuing, but I’m going to write the article as if the links are broken.

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In summary, Clean Teen Publishing allows readers to understand what they’re picking up when they choose a book—which I completely support for numerous reasons, but I will mainly talk about personal experiences, both from working with readers and from traumatic topics I’ve lived through myself, and how these examples have helped me understand the consideration of a content disclosure.

Starting off at my day job, I help authors find readers interested in their work. One of the topics I always discuss with authors is whether or not there is incest, rape, or other controversial topics in the story. Why? Because many of the reviewers I have worked with requested to know this for various reasons. By talking to numerous readers every day, I started to realize how many readers would prefer to know certain things up front—again, for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s triggering for those with PTSD. Sometimes, they are simply disinterested in that scenario. Sometimes, it’s just a preference of how they are feeling that day. While I’m not one to be against any particular topic in a novel, I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to read about certain topics, especially involving traumas.

That being said, this sort of disclosure hasn’t happened without controversy. Simply Google “disclosing content in novels” or “content ratings for readers” and I guarantee you’ll find a forum discussing the pros and cons of this. The main arguments I see revolve around ruining surprises and the effectiveness of even preventing someone from reading something they won’t enjoy. And that’s what I want to discuss.

First, as a writer who has written about controversial topics—particularly with violence and language in November Snow and The Timely Death Trilogy, and drug use in Take Me TomorrowI would – by no means – want a reader to pick up one of my works and accidentally be triggered by something. Speaking from personal experience, my mother died from a drug overdose when I was eleven, which is why I wrote Take Me Tomorrow, but through years of counseling, I met many kids like me who reacted very differently than I did. Reading Take Me Tomorrow would be extremely upsetting for them, and knowing what they went through, I would never want to cause them distress about such a personal topic. As a fellow reader, I would also rather find them something else they might like to read.

Granted, I understand the “just put it down” argument, but—at the same time—why can’t we prevent readers from picking up a book they definitely won’t like in the first place? This isn’t about ratings or reviews. This is about caring about your readers’ feelings and time. Now . . . here is where I hear the “but that ruins the surprise” argument . . . which I don’t understand, because—if done correctly—the content disclosure will say the topic, not which character and on which page. Take my full disclosure for example (if you click on this link, it’s at the bottom of the page). Clean Teen Publishing lets us know that Minutes Before Sunset talks about a parent’s suicide. It doesn’t say which one. It doesn’t say how it happens or when it happens. It doesn’t even say how much it is discussed. If anything, I’ve given away SO MUCH more on my website about the topic of suicide in The Timely Death Trilogy and November Snow.

I know I write about controversial – and often violent – topics in my stories, and I, by no means, have an issue with readers knowing that up front, especially because my novels fall under the YA genre, and genres alone don’t warn about the insides. TV and movies have had ratings for a long time, and while I understand that it’s much easier to be surfing channels and accidentally comes across a movie (and a book takes much more time to get into), I think content disclosures can help a large portion of readers find more suitable books that they will enjoy.

Content disclosures can help those that feel like they need it, and those who feel they don’t need content disclosures can ignore them. If you want to be surprised about all the topics, for instance, don’t read the disclosure. It’s as simple as that. At this point, I will say that I don’t think it needs to be an industry standard but rather something that is up to an author and their publisher (and of course, the reader). Personally, I love them. I see too many benefits coming from them for me not to love them. Content disclosures can help those avoiding triggering topics and even help parents choose books for their children that they deem appropriate. Disclosures can help readers find exactly what they’re looking for, maybe even a controversial topic they’ve struggled to find. Everyone who wants them can read them, and everyone who doesn’t want them doesn’t have to use them, but as an author, I’m glad my novels now have one.

~SAT

P.S. On a fun side note, my publisher actually makes these for anyone interested! Click here to check it out.

P.S.S. I reviewed Ex Machina and talked about robots during my latest YouTube video on Coffee & Cats!

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