Country Life, Nature, writers life, writing

When Life Takes a Surprising Turn

Good morning, friends!

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving. I’ve already indulged in one turkey dinner and have another this afternoon at 2 pm. 🙂 I’m grateful that my boyfriend and I have family and friends nearby.

My parents and nephew came up for the weekend. Mum and I peeled, mashed, and cooked turkey dinner. It was a lot of fun. There are plenty of leftovers, and this week I hope to make a turkey casserole 😀 Mmmmm.

This season has been filled with change. We’ve weathered the bumps, and I still can’t get over where we find ourselves now.

We are living in the country in a quaint little village named Hillsborough. Pines and maple trees surround our cozy bungalow. I keep finding little surprises around the property like plump beige mushrooms and teeny brown ones.

Maggie loves running around the property and exploring. Sometimes, she’ll cozy up in her bed and sit outside with me while I write.

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It is a blessing. I still feel a little stunned that we are even here. I’m thankful for where God has brought me in this past year. My heart overflows today, and it’s difficult to put into words, but a year ago, I found myself in a dark place.

I can say that I’ve crawled my way out of that pit. God was with me every step, gently nudging me forwards, even when I stumbled.

Thanksgiving is known to be a time for food, laughter, stretchy pants, movies, family, friends and so much more. However, I know that others may find this time of year difficult. Perhaps you’re grieving a loved one or feeling lonely or are in the pit. ❤

Just trust me when I say, if you find yourself in a valley, it will get better. Take one day at a time. Reach out to your loved ones or friends. Journal. Go for walks. Do whatever you find healing and rejuvenating.

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The Burren, Ireland

Lots of love, friends.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Love, Cover Reveals, writers life, writing

Cover Reveal: CLOUDED BY ENVY – Candace Robinson

September 25th, 2018

Guys, I am so happy to be part of the cover reveal for Candace’s newest book CLOUDED BY ENVY, releasing in February 2019! Eep, so exciting. You may remember when I wrote a review for her story, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault.

I cannot wait to read her latest story. Candace is a master storyteller of quirky, unique, and romantic fantasy. I love her style of writing.

Without further ado, here is the Goodreads summary:

Brenik has always been envious of his twin sister, Bray. Growing up as fairy-like creatures, known as bats, everything came easier to Bray. While Brenik spent his time in her shadows, never feeling he was enough. After escaping their world of Laith, and living on Earth for ten years, Brenik attempts to strike a deal with the Stone of Desire to become human. Though true humanity is not an option, he will accept the curse that will alter him to get as close as he can.

Living in a tree trunk for the past year hasn’t been easy for Bray, more so after her brother disappears again. When a human boy and his brother, Wes, find her, a new friendship is struck. Through Wes, Bray learns there can be more to life than waiting within a tree. But worrying over where Brenik has vanished to always remains in the back of her mind.

When Bray reunites with Brenik, she realizes she must help him break the curse after she discovers the need for blood is beginning to overpower him. The curse not only damages those who get close to Brenik, but it could also destroy whatever is blooming between Bray and Wes.

Are you ready for the cover?!

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Isn’t it stunning? I love it so much ❤

You can learn more about Candace here 🙂 Or follow her on Twitter!

Tell me what you think below :)! I would love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Author Interview, Book Love, canadian authors, writers life, writing

Saturday Check-In: Books I’m Reading, Upcoming Author Interview, and Heading to the Country

Hiya friends,

Short post for today.  The #WriteMentor Agent Showcase went fantastically and Stuart shared that every mentee received an agent request which is super rare and awesome! Woohoo 🙂 You can still read the lovely entries here!

What I’m Reading

I finished The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin and it’s definitely a 5 star book in my opinion! I loved the thrilling mystery and the close sisterly bond between Aster and Poppy.

I’m still working on Blinding Night and A Touch of Gold. But I also have a few more on my radar 😀 The life of a booklover! Haha.

Scion of the Fox is written by Canadian writer, editor, and artist, S.M. Beiko. The pitch is American Gods meets Princess Mononoke!

Saving Death was graciously sent to me by Oftomes Publishing to review. Very excited to dive in.

The Bone Roses is such a unique and fantastical story. It’s pitched as a Steampunk Western! I love it so far. Rags is such a spunky and brave main heroine.

This book was published by Parliament House Press. I think they are definitely a publishing house to watch. They have some great books lined up for the fall. My two mentors from #WriteMentor each have a book releasing from them in the next couple of months.

Upcoming Author Interview

I won’t say much about this because I want you to be excited and curious but I have a fantastic author interview going live on Tuesday! They are a bestselling fantasy writer and I cannot wait for you to read the interview ❤

Heading to the Country

I am excited because this weekend I am heading to the country to spend time with family. Hoping for rest and good conversation and inspiration. I also get to read my #cpsoulmate‘ latest draft of her science fiction adventure story, World Leaper! 

Do you have any plans for the weekend? What are you reading at the moment?

Keep your eyes peeled for Tuesday’s interview!

Until next time,

Loie xo

Book Love, writers life, writing

Saturday Check-In: Agent Showcase, Fall Crafting, and Books I’m Reading

Hey everyone!

I decided to start something new this month and hopefully the months to follow: a weekly check-in and short post about what’s going on in my life. I’d also love to hear what’s going on in your life, too 🙂

#WriteMentor Agent Showcase

So this week, as the title states, is the Agent Showcase for #WriteMentor. On Thursday, September 6th, all entries were posted and you can go on the website and review all the wonderful mentees imaginative and diverse first pages.

I have enjoyed reading my fellow mentees work! Hard to believe the summer has flown on by and we are now considering entering the query trenches with our #WriteMentor manuscript. Again, I owe all the world of thanks to my funny and sweet mentors, MB Dalto and Amber R. Duell.

So that’s what’s happened this week.

I hope to transition and begin working again on my dark fairytale retelling, KING BLUEBEARD.

Fall Crafting

I absolutely love fall. I posted a pic on Instagram of my first pumpkin spice latte with my dear friend a day shy of September, haha! Ringing in the season early.

Something I love to do in the fall is make crafts with my Mum and friends. I enjoy walking on the beach and picking up sea-glass and pieces of driftwood. My mum made the cutest pebble art piece for Adam, Maggie, and I.

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I hope to work on either a mosaic or a braided rug this fall. Or maybe make some autumn candles 😉

What I’m Reading

 

 

I picked up Touch of Gold after hearing some great things about it! It’s a King Midas retelling ❤ Enjoying it so far.

Lindsay Galvin is one of the #WriteMentor mentors and I kept seeing her book being tweeted so I ordered. It’s soooo good! If you’re interested in the ocean and the environment and mystery, I think you’ll enjoy this.

I read Chantal Gadoury’s Little Mermaid retelling and really enjoyed it! She sent me an ARC of this Persephone and Hades retelling. Love her storytelling and writing style ❤

What books are you reading right now? What activities do you like to do in the fall? I would love to hear below!

Loie xo

writing

#WriteMentor: A Mentee’s Experience

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Hey everyone 🙂 How are you all making out? Did some of you participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month? I started to, but then I got busy with a new job (I’m happy as a clam!) and settled into a new routine.

Also, can you believe it is August 1st? The countdown is on for the Agent Showcase.

Today I want to share my experience with the mentorship program, #WriteMentor. I am beyond blessed to be part of this fantastic group of writers. There is an excellent mix of published authors and aspiring authors.

Without further ado, here is my experience of being part of a mentorship 🙂

1. Writing Community Broadens

I have met so many wonderful writers during #WriteMentor. I am part of the mentees Facebook group. We share how we are doing during revisions or ask writing craft questions.

My Twitterverse has grown as well. It is so fun to login and see what everyone is up to. Sometimes we post silly GIFS about how revisions AREN’T going smoothly, haha, or we just tag each other in fun little writing questionnaires.

I love meeting new writers, and #WriteMentor has brought new writing friends into my life for which I will be forever grateful.

2. Learn More About Writing as a Craft

As a writer, working with two brilliant and funny authors has been amazing. Their level of insight is really awesome. I received my final round of edits around ten days ago. I took a deep breath and cleared my desk, then sat down to read through their notes.

My jaw dropped many times. They were so spot on! They picked up on things that I didn’t even notice. Bringing some of these things to my attention has already shifted something in my writing brain. I find I am looking out for those problematic areas in my writing or noticing passive and filter words more.

I am so grateful for Amber and MB. They are the best. Thank you both for the time you put in this manuscript ❤

3. Grow More Confident as a Writer

My confidence has grown. I think every time you learn something new, you feel more sure of yourself. The ambiguity clears up.

For example, filter words are the worst, HAHA! Also, make sure the weather doesn’t drastically change in a scene without explaining why. Good ol’ continuity 😉

We will always grow and learn more. We can only get better! That is an encouraging thought. Even if I don’t get an agent or a book published in the next year or so, I know I am learning and growing. All of this is important on the journey.

We will get there.

Final Thoughts

A big shout out to Stuart White, who is an awesome, kind, and great encourager in the writing community! He is brilliant. You can tell he has a genuinely good heart and wants to help others. He is the mastermind behind this program.

Also, a big thank you to the rest of the mentors who are giving up their precious time to work with us. You are all amazing ❤

I hope someday if I get enough experience I can give back similarly and mentor a new writer. If you are thinking about applying for a mentorship program, I highly recommend it.

How has your summer been? What are you all working on? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Loie xo

writing

The Creative Benefits of Journaling

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Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

Do you want to nourish your creativity? Perhaps you feel blocked from time to time. Did you know that journaling regularly can help artists and creators? Keep reading to find out more!

Benefits of Journaling 

Researchers have shown that the act of journaling is therapeutic. We often have a deluge of thoughts and ideas throughout the course of a day. By writing them down, we may gain insight about what we are thinking or feeling.

  • Notice trends in your creativity 

When journaling about my writing progress, I might take note of the time of day I felt most productive or creative as a writer and why.

  • Learn more about yourself 

This goes hand in hand with the previous point, but throughout the journaling process, I begin to see what upsets or energizes me. Maybe I will discover that I am at my best, creatively, in the early hours of the morning.

  • Clarifies jumbled thoughts 

I have a lot of racing thoughts, so I find it super therapeutic to write them down. When I do this, I can make sense of the tangle in my head. This is calming and I feel ready to move onto creative writing.

Free-Write 

Honestly, when I sit down to write in my journal, I just let my pen fly across the page. It may be a short entry, or it may be a longer entry. Sometimes I will sit down and end up writing a poem or short scene. Other times, I might grumble about how I feel or what I need to get done. If I journal in the morning, I write about any dreams I can still recall.

I even journal about the novel-writing process. After completing a chapter, I go back to my journal and discuss how it went. Sometimes, the practice of journaling about my novel helps unblock my mind if I’ve arrived at a deadend.

Daily Practice

It’s best if you get into the habit of journaling twenty minutes a day. By sitting down and writing, you may surprise yourself by what appears in your notebook! Perhaps you will get a new idea for your latest work-in-progress or discover a solution to a problem you have.

Morning Pages

If you want to learn more about the creative benefits of journaling, check out Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. She highly recommends writing Morning Pages. 

Happy writing, friends!

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

writing

Creating characters

July 3rd, 2018

Hello, lovelies! I hope you are having a good week so far. Happy Camp NaNoWriMo for those of you who are participating, whether you’re editing, writing, or outlining. I hope to write a novella set in the world of THE LOST SAGES, and explore one of my secondary characters, Tsura. I’m excited to learn more about her 🙂

I’ve decided to start blogging about the craft of writing, with the hope of better understanding it. In my own search to understand various techniques, I’ve found some neat books and informational videos.

The wonderful thing about being part of a writing community is getting to share information and tips with one another. After you read this blog, I would love to hear your own thoughts on how to create compelling and real characters 🙂

Writing video notes 

I stumbled upon Kim Chance’s writing videos on YouTube. I really enjoyed listening to her break down some of the various craft elements. In this video, she shared how she creates well-rounded characters. Kim kindly provides a character profile questionnaire that can be found on her website.

She discussed these key points: cultural influences, mannerisms, occupation and socioeconomic status, family relationships, spirituality, and education. Life experience is a big one. What have the characters gone through or what has happened to them before we meet them on page one.

In my book, THE LOST SAGES, Evren is poor and alone at the beginning. This really influences her decision making when Captain Sa’av, infamous pirate, arrives on Ionoke Island, seeking a navigator to bring him to the sinister Sea Queen’s lair.

Personality, of course, is a huge one. How does a character view themselves and how do other characters see them? I loved these two questions!! Oftentimes, we can see ourselves in a different light than those around us 😉

Growth

To become three dimensional, the character must experience some change over the course of the novel and journey.

What is the character’s goal? What is the motivation behind the goal and what is at stake if the character fails? For example, if Evren does not find the sinister Sea Queen’s lair, then her and Captain Sa’av won’t be able to retrieve an antidote to an epidemic that is claiming the air from thousands of lungs across Tarkais.

Question Time

Do you brainstorm all the details of a character before writing them? Do you have an image of the person or perhaps a feeling or situation they are involved with?

When I received an edit letter from a manuscript critique I won, the editor kindly suggested I begin to think about how Evren moves, talks, and interacts with others.

There were some things I knew from the beginning when I drafted THE LOST SAGES. But as always in revisions and rewriting, I learn MORE about my characters. A bit of backstory sheds new light. It’s amazing, the continual unfolding and learning that goes on.

Building Character 

With the help of the questionnaire and a character profile sheet an editor sent me, I found I had plenty of questions to answer when it came time to brainstorm Evren.

I also like to listen to music and let my brain wander, imagining Evren in certain scenarios and wondering how she would react. Free-writing also helps a ton before drafting a novel. I write a random scene with Evren in it. This allows me to see how she would handle a confrontation with a character or a dangerous situation.

Finding their voice 

I find voice a bit tricky and elusive. However, each draft I write or re-write, brings me that much closer to capturing the voice of the character. I think details in the book revealing how they walk (do they slouch, stride, or saunter) and talk (do they have a lisp, accent, or use certain words repeatedly) for example, help with capturing the unique voice of the character. Everything that makes them unique and different, will stand out.

Captain Sa’av, in the first draft of this book, was ice cold and arrogant. I realized early on that wasn’t really him. In fact, he was more goofy and eccentric. Evren appears to be uptight at the beginning, but she really relaxes once she is around people whom she feels safe with. All of this I discovered as I re-wrote.

What do you do?

How do you create characters? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Until next time,

Loie xo