All That We See or Seem by Kristina Mahr Blog Tour

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All That We See or Seem by Kristina Mahr

YA Fantasy

Releases May 15th, 2018 by Uncommon Universes Press

Every night, seventeen-year-old Reeve Lennox finds herself under a noose.

By day she is a lady of Acarsaid’s royal house, daydreaming of adventure and love. But every night in sleep she wanders through a nightmarish city, an invisible witness to the screeches of monsters and the screams of their victims. Her only consolation is Bran, a battle-torn young man with a selfless heart and eyes that reflect the stars. 

Yet while Reeve falls deeper into her dreams, in truth she is engaged to Arden, a mercurial nobleman who has long been cured of his belief in love and breathes fire and flattery like other people breathe air.

Torn between two lives, Reeve struggles to remember what’s real. Until night and day collide, with a revelation that threatens all of Acarsaid.

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Hi everyone!
 I would like to welcome author Kristina Mahr to the blog. Her YA fantasy, All That We See or Seem releases tomorrow. I had the privilege of getting to read an ARC of her wonderful and fantastical book that I highly recommend. Isn’t that cover beautiful?! She has graciously answered a few questions I asked her 🙂
Interview Q&A 
1) If you had a recurring dream for years, what would you hope to dream about?
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That’s so tricky! I love the randomness and unpredictability of dreams. If I was stuck with just one… well, it’d better be a happy one. With puppies. And love. And summertime. Oh, and flying! All of the best dreams involve flying.
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2) What was the inspiration behind the world and characters of All That We See or Seem?
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The biggest inspiration was a dream my sister had four years ago, about a girl who falls in love with a boy she meets in her dreams. That’s definitely the nucleus of the story. The first scene that popped into my mind was of a girl, running through dark streets in her nightgown. Everything was kind of built around that. I started asking all of the obvious questions: why a nightgown? (Set in the 1800s.) Why is she running? (Monsters.) What does this boy think the first time he sees her? (Insane asylum escapee.) All of the pieces piled into place until it became this story.
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3) Do you have an tips for aspiring writers who hope to be published?
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It’s probably the most common advice, but it’s the most true: keep writing. It doesn’t have to be every day. It doesn’t have to be in novel form. But play with words, in some way, as often as you can. Turn off the radio sometimes while you’re driving and turn your story over in your mind. Write short stories. Write poetry. Read. Read some more. Surround yourself with fellow writers to bounce ideas off of and lift you up when your story is fighting you tooth and nail. Don’t give up. Even if the middle gets messy. It’s what middles do. Power through. Writers are lucky to have this dream, because so much of it is within our own hands. We can write the best story we know how to write. Getting published is a lot of luck and timing, but if you write the best book you can… at least you can feel content in having done everything you could do.
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4) What has been your favorite part of your writing journey thus far?
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I think the best moment so far has been the cover reveal. It’s so beautiful and so representative of the story. I feel very lucky to have it as the face of my words. And then the fact that that’s my name on it, and the title I always wanted for this book… it really drove home the fact that this is a real thing that’s happening.
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Kristina Mahr devotes her days to numbers and her nights to words. She works full-time as an accountant in the suburbs of Chicago, where she lives with her two dogs and two cats, but her true passion is writing. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and waking up at the crack of dawn every weekend to watch the Premier League.

Here are the links if you are interested in buying her book! Thank you for your time Kristina and thank you Uncommon Universes Press for the advanced reader copy.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/That-Seem-Dreamworld-Duology-Book-ebook/dp/B07BJH8L7J/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/all-that-we-see-or-seem-kristina-mahr/1128233212

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/all-that-we-see-or-seem-2

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1360731363

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39341536-all-that-we-see-or-seem

 

I would love to hear what you think in the comments below 🙂

Until next time,

Loie xo

Writing is re-writing

May 2nd, 2018

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Good afternoon all!

Some of you may have heard this phrase before: writing is re-writing. A lot of the time, we look at the finished book in our hands and don’t realize the amount of drafts it took to get to the final copy. As a reader, I certainly didn’t know much about the process of writing a book.

When I first began writing more seriously in 2012, I was a newbie and didn’t know much about drafting and revising. I finished my first complete novel during NanoWrimo that fall and then in January took a look at the manuscript. It was awful. There were plot holes and two dimensional characters and hardly any description. The bits I did like I saved and then decided a re-write was in order. That was when I began researching how to re-write and revise.

Marissa Meyer has a great series about how she brings her story idea to a complete novel. She outlines what she does in each stage from brainstorming, research, first, second, third drafts, etc. I found that to be quite helpful when tackling my own first re-write.

https://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/from-idea-to-finished-step-3-the-first-draft/

Presently: the continual learning curve 

I received feedback on my current fantasy WIP, THE LOST SAGES (formally titled EVREN) and am working on it now. There was so much helpful feedback that I’ve created a TO DO list and am tackling each one separately. Even though it feels like I have to climb a mountain, I know in my heart of hearts that I will be so proud of this book when I’m done.

The thing I am realizing too is, this book is one of the first projects I’ve taken on and I am learning SO much. I am receiving insight into myself as a writer and where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I am learning a lot about grammar and proper punctuation and the age old, show don’t tell rule as well as the infamous info dumping in fantasy novels 🙂 It is all good and encouraging. I know this is the path I need to take to grow as a writer. I want to feel confident in my ability to pen a story and have the proper tools in my toolbox, as Stephen King explains craft.

I am at the point in my writing career where I can sense a few things coming down the road. I want to write stories I am proud of and that have heart in them. I want people to to resonate with them and perhaps see themselves in the characters. I also want to write the best story possible. I don’t want to settle.

This week I have been thinking a lot about creativity and projects we take on. Sometimes if we take on too much, our writing suffers because of it. I’ve noticed that I haven’t been able to focus as much and find it hard to return and work on THE LOST SAGES. I sat down and wrote in my journal, trying to discern what was keeping me distracted. Too many projects on the go. I needed to narrow my focus and so I have. Now, I set myself a reachable goal for each week and hope to have this latest draft done by June.

What are you all working on? How many drafts do you write? I would love to hear below.

Until next time,

Loie xo

Trust the process

April 7th, 2018 7:09 pm

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Hey guys!

I decided to participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month. If you can tell from the title, yes, you attempt to write a novel in ONE month 🙂 I decided to take a break from EVREN and KING BLUEBEARD, while they are with beta readers and editors, and instead write a new story about dragons and a young woman who has been imprisoned in a tower for the majority of her life. So far, I have about 10,000 words, and am enjoying this process. I am completely pantsing the project, meaning, I have no outline or previous brainstorming for it. I am literally opening the document and writing what comes in my head at the time.

I thought today I would talk a little bit about trusting the process. Trusting the process of drafting a new novel, brainstorming a new novel, or editing said novel, whatever spot you are at in this journey.

Trust 

Before I began pantsing this project, I’ll be honest, I was nervous. What if I couldn’t come up with characters that readers would follow for a novel? What if I just stared and nothing came together? What if the plot did a face plant?

I am happy to report that as I’ve begun drafting, the characters and world have revealed themselves to me. There have been parts where they have surprised me and made me laugh. This for me, is part of the joy of writing, when you are surprised by your own characters. It feels so magical.

However, if there is a part where you get stuck, there are some things you can do to unstick yourself 😉

-With a notepad and pen just scribble scene ideas down and circle some of your favorites to pen later

-Go for a walk or hike in nature and try to give your brain a chance to float and be quiet. Sometimes my best ideas pop up during these times.

-Research! Research often sparks plenty of ideas for me that gets me rolling again

Writing freely

Many better writers before me have spoken about this but they really recommend that the first draft of anything, to try and write freely without having that inner editor speaking too loudly in the background. The first draft tends to help you get a feel for your characters, world, and plot, but it does not have to be perfect! Try and silence that inner editor and write this draft for fun. That’s what I have been doing and its a liberating experience. I know oftentimes in rewriting and revising, that the magic occurs. That is where I can fix sentences and deepen character motivations, fix the plot and subplots if there are any gaping holes.

So, enjoy writing! Trust yourself that you can finish this draft. Give yourself permission to write a messy first draft, but have fun while doing so! Another note, everyone’s process is different. This is what works for me. 🙂 What may work for me, might not for you. I just hope you feel encouraged and excited with whatever you are working on.

What are you working on at the moment?

Until next time,

Loie xo

Oh February, where did you go?

February 26th, 2018 10:44 am

Hey all!

How are you making out? I’m in the country in northern New Brunswick and it is sooo beautiful. Last night we had a bit of a snow fall. From where I am writing, I can look out and see a beautiful old church against a backdrop of a frozen muddy river. Lovely place.

Debut YA Fantasy novels I read this month:

 

 

 

 

Everless’s premise by Sara Holland was intriguing. The story is set in a world where time is currency. They extract it from a person’s blood, bind it to iron, and consume it by dropping the coin in their tea to add time to their life.

I loved the characters and it was quite fast-paced. This was the first novel in a long time that I couldn’t put down. I stayed up quite late one night to finish it. Can’t wait for the sequel.

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross is so beautifully written. It is slower paced than some YA novels but I am enjoying it so much. I have about twenty pages to go. I could finish it in one sitting but I don’t want it to be over! It’s an epic fantasy and it involves overthrowing a plot of an evil King. The MC, Brienna, is lovely.

February progress

This month was fairly good for writing. I entered a competition called #KissPitch and had a few likes on my fantasy, EVREN and fairy-tale retelling, KING BLUEBEARD.  Competitions are always exciting because they give you the push to  create and polish the pitch of your story (About two-three sentences long).

I began walking daily for thirty minutes to help with my achy back I had from sitting for hours on end while writing. That has definitely helped. Still haven’t completed my healthy meal-prep. But there is March for that 😉

I created a revision plan for KING BLUEBEARD and hope to have the completed second draft complete by mid-March for when my critique partner and I swap our works-in-progress ❤ #cpsoulmates

EVREN is pretty well there. Now it is fine tuning the language and working out some of the scene pacing. I do want to overhaul the ending, there’s that 🙂 I am going to brainstorm how to later on this afternoon.

Music

I have discovered an amazing soundtrack to write to :

So epic. So beautiful. I love this soundtrack and listen to it on repeat while daydreaming and brainstorming.

My friend Rebecca has also sent me some good tunes. This is one in particular I love :

March goals

1) Re-write ending of EVREN

2) Complete second draft of KING BLUEBEARD

-Re-write at least four scenes a day 

-Examine character arcs, setting details, and plot 

3) Continue to walk everyday for thirty minutes

4) Submit manuscript to SCBWI WIP competition

5) Partake in #PitMad on March 8th, 2018. More details here:

http://pitchwars.org/pitmad/

6) Submit #1st5Pages to the First Five Pages Writing Workshop on March 3rd, 2018 :

http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com/

7) Create sea glass art 🙂

8) Finish sewing a bag – pictures to come 😉

9) Meal prep for at least one week

10) Brainstorm new projects

11) Send in my first 250 words to the Secret Agent Contest on March 5th, 2018. Enter here:

https://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.ca/2018/02/march-secret-agent-early-info.html

Happy end of the month, everyone!

What did you accomplish this past month? Did you do anything new and fun? My boyfriend and I went to a board game cafe which was amaaaazing. We got to meet new people from the city and compete in a tournament. Us newbies got second place that night!

Is there anything you want to accomplish in March? Let me know in the comments ❤

Until next time,

Loie xo

Revisions and networking

December 27th, 2017 – 3:06 pm

Good afternoon everyone!

I hope you had a nice Christmas season. It’s hard to believe it has already passed. Christmas always seems to pass by in a flurry of presents, food, family, and lack of sleep, haha.

Update on Jaden – he is still hanging in there. Please keep praying for the restoration of his health and for his family.

Revisions

I completed my second draft of Evren about a week ago now. I have been letting it sit and have turned my attention to watching movies (Arrival, Silence, The Pianist, Christmas Vacation – to name a few) and reading books (Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock, On Writing by Stephen King, and The Young Elites by Marie Lu). I have spent time with my family and my boyfriend and went for walks. It has been a time of recharging my creative batteries and letting my mind rest.

Now, back at it 😉

My plan for revisions are as follows:

  1. Re-read Evren in one sitting

-Make an updated scene list (a two-three sentence summary of every scene in the book).

-Make a list of big and small changes that I will need to make in draft three.

-Make notes on characterization additions and plot holes that need to be fixed.

  2. Create a daily to-do list for revisions

-Decide what scenes need to be scrapped, re-written, or revised.

-Begin to implement big and small changes in scenes and make notes in scene list of where the changes happen.

-Do the same with characterization and plot holes in the scene list.

As you can tell, a scene list is a powerful tool. It allows – at a glance –  you to see where your story is going. I can usually fit all my scenes on two pages. I then cut the page up so I can spread the individual scenes out on the floor and move them around if I need to.

Networking

For Christmas, my Mum bought me a membership to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

This is a society where I can meet other writers, post up chapters or query letters to get critiqued, learn about future conferences to attend, and more. I think it will be quite helpful in my journey as a writer. I’ve already posted on some of the forums 🙂

Writing is a solitary occupation. It is fun to reach out to other young adult writers and make connections with them. You can also grow as a writer if you join a critique group or look for a beta reader.

I have finally sent out the first chapter of Evren to two critique partners of mine. Eep! It’s the only way to improve.

That’s it for now, friends.

Until next time,

Loie xo