24.4.12

Teaser Tuesday


OF STONE AND ICE is still only around 7,000 words. I haven't really had a lot of time to write but I have been taking notes here and there, writing down plot points, information about important characters, and things like that.

The actual storyline is coming along nicely. It's more developed and fleshed out than it was when I first thought of it...which makes me happy because I really feel like I can tell my main character, Lora's story.

I don't really have an official summary to share with you guys but OSAI is about a girl named Lora Anders who, ever since it was revealed that she isn't really the king's daughter, becomes an enemy in her own home. She doesn't know who her real father is but it is believed that her mother had an affair with a Magus (magical race) which is a crime that is punishable by death. Even after King Everett had her mother executed, Lora has remained loyal to the throne. But things...I won't tell you what...happen to test her loyalty. There is a lot of sword fighting, kissing, and a love square. I know, I know. But I swear...there's a reason why I'm calling it a square and not a triangle.

I'm so excited for this project!

***


The crowd is hungry for blood.

My blood.

They want to see it spill all over the arena floor. King Everett is standing on the platform, waiting for all of the cheering to die down. Krispin enters the room, clad in the traditional armor of a future king - all of which is made out of iron. His hair is pulled back into a pony tail and his sword is brandished.

Lady Waverley told me not worry. She told me I was going to be fine but I didn't feel fine. I didn't feel like I was going to make it out alive. Instead, I felt like the crowd was going to get what they wanted. They were going to see my blood, all of it, spilling out on to the ground in pools.

I was going to die and everyone was going to cheer.

My father was talking, his voice louder than a clap of thunder, but I couldn't hear what he was saying over the pounding of my heart. It was only when he looked in my direction, his eyes cloudier than I have ever seen them in my entire life, that I began to listen to what he was saying. "Tonight, one man will slay this beast. Tonight, we will have a champion!"

Beast.

So that's what he thought of me. I was a beast. Not a girl. Not his daughter. Not a human being.

Beast.


Thanks for reading! <3
18.4.12

Road Trip Wednesday #126: Prom

It's been a while since I've done one of these but...today is Wednesday which means that the lovely bloggers over at YA Highway are hosting their weekly blog carnival Road Trip Wednesday in which a question is posted and people are free to answer the question on their respective blogs.


Here's this weeks topic:


It's almost prom season, and since we love to read and write about teenagers, we want to hear your prom stories!


Well...my prom isn't until next month.
And I know I should be excited about it but...the thing is I'm at a new school which means I didn't get to spend my senior year with my friends. I also wasn't fortunate enough to make new friends and I hardly know any of the people in my senior class. So you're probably thinking "Why exactly are you going to prom?"


Maybe you're not but to answer the question...I'm going because I have always wanted to go to prom. I dreamed of wearing a tiara and a fancy dress and dancing the night away ever since I first saw my cousin at her prom when I was a little kid. I don't have a date and I doubt I'll have one before the big day but...I just want to experience it.


I'm crazy, believe me I know. I'd be better off spending the night at home watching movies and eating popcorn. But I know that if I don't go to prom I'll look back and regret not going. Plus I already have my dress and I paid for my ticket ages ago...so no backing out now!


Here's a picture of me in my dress:
10.4.12

Teaser Tuesday

I am about to reach 7K on my latest wip OF STONE AND ICE. I started it two days ago and even though it's a new genre and I don't really know what I'm doing, I'm having fun writing fantasy again. The world building isn't really that great since I am just focused on getting the skeleton of the story written but I plan to read other YA Fantasy novels just so I can get an idea of how to go about world building.

I was inspired to write this story by my desire to see more people of color in YA Fantasy and this video.



I'm a HUGE Drake fan and even if you're not, watch this video because it's really beautiful and it reminds me so much of OSAI.

This is first page and a half of OSAI. It's very rough so I apologize in advance for any mistakes!


Elenore's hands shake as she removes the iron shackles from my wrist. I want to tell her not to be afraid of me, that I would never do anything to hurt her, but I know that nothing I say will ease her mind.

She is afraid of me.

I am afraid of myself.

Though I don't want to hurt anybody - I can't seem to control my power yet. This is why the king put iron on my wrist in the first place. He says it's for my own protection, but I know that's not true. He doesn't care what happens to me now that he knows that I'm not really his daughter. There are times when he can't stand to look at me, and when he does - there is a hatred in his eyes that burns brighter than any sun. I know there is a part of him that thinks that I'd be better off dead, but he won't kill me, at least not while I can still be of use to him.

The monster hidden in my bones breathes a sigh of relief once Elenore is finished removing the iron from my body. There are marks on my skin where the shackles had been. They are a constant reminder that I am a prisoner in a place that I once called home.

"King Everett says that I must help you get ready." Elenore's voice is soft, barely a whisper. I remember the days when we used to whisper secrets in each other's ears, and laugh at jokes that only we thought were funny. She was the closest thing I had to a best friend even though I was a princess, and she was just a servant.

I take a step forward. "Ellie..." I start, reaching out to her.

She moves away from me.

Only a few centimeters stands between us but it feels like we are kingdoms apart, as she shakes her head, a few tendrils of hair escaping from her bonnet and tumbling into her frigid blue eyes.

"Stay back," she orders, like I'm some wild, untamed animal.

"Ellie..." I begin again. "Don't do this."

I wanted her lips to tremble and her eyes to thaw. I wanted her to wrap her arms around me, and say that we were still friends, that she wasn't afraid of me, but instead she reached into her apron.

"Lora." Her voice cracked. "I don't want to hurt you but King Everett said that I could...I could plunge this through your heart."

Thanks for reading! <3

2.4.12

the problem isn't just the covers

I judge a book by it's cover.
I think we all do.
Most of us are suckers for covers with pretty font and pretty designs and pretty this and pretty that. It draws us in. It makes us want to learn more about the book, read the first couple of pages, check out the premise, and then ultimately buy it or check it out of the library.
Nine times out of ten, the books that don't have the most interesting covers get passed up at the bookstore regardless of if they're extremely well-written. I know, for me, I like to buy books that get rave reviews, so that I know even if the cover isn't appealing then the actual story is good.
Getting to the point.
I know authors have little to no say on what their cover is going to look like and that the designers are versed in what kind of covers are popular, which will make the book more 'marketable' and which won't.
That said - to me, it seems like the publishing industry thinks little of the diversity of readers. I don't know about other genres but YA novels hardly features any guys on the covers and when they do there is almost always a pretty girl on their arm (even if the MC is male). Okay, I'm a girl, and I'm all for the surge of strong female heroines but the message that strikes me when I walk through the YA section at the bookstore is that boys don't read. How could they? The majority of YA literature is female-centric and it's not fair.
There are a great number of 'boy books' out there Crash Into Me by Albert Borris being one of them. Now I will be completely honest with you, one of the reasons why I wanted to read the book besides it's premise was...the fact that it had a great cover.
I mean, look at it.
I recommend this book to everyone and if you have already read it then you know that Frank is the one narrating the story. The book tells the story of three other teens besides him but Crash Into Me is written from his perspective. This is why I don't understand the point of having a girl on the cover. I liked Audrey a lot but...if she was going to be on the cover, then why couldn't the other two characters be on there as well? Crash Into Me isn't all about the romance between Frank and Audrey. It deals with some serious subject matters and the fact that there is a female model on the cover really enforces my saying that YA is female-centric. I mean, would the book's marketability (sp?) change if there was only one person on the cover and if that person was male?
Maybe I'm just making something out of nothing.
Maybe boys don't read books with pictures of other guys on them but it's still a little weird when you think about how rare it is to find a male model without a girl clinging to him on the cover, how rare it is to find a book where the guy on the cover isn't sexualized, and portrayed solely as the hot love interest.
Then there's Paper Towns by John Green.
I have the paperback version of Paper Towns but it never really made since to me why Margo is on the hardback cover when she isn't the main character. Sure she plays an important role in the novel but it's not her story. I mean...it's sickening how 'girly' YA has become.
And when I look at adult fiction, despite the fact that most of the covers are a bit racy, there is a fair amount of show time for both sexes on the covers. This is just from the books I see, so I could be wrong, but compared to YA, I think adult fiction really is doing better in the gender diversity department when it comes to the models on the covers.
I can't really say much on racial diversity. It's 2012 and though there has been an increase in books with non-white models on them, the 'white girl in a pretty dress' trend isn't going away. Don't get me wrong. I like pretty dresses and I don't mind that the girls on the cover are white, especially if the main character is white, but...if I say that, then I'm not really admitting there is a problem.
When there is.
Only it's not just the covers.
Someone once said that if the use of models on covers would cease, then more people (no matter what ethnic background they come from) would read books but...that doesn't really make sense because even if the apple was the only thing that we saw on the Twilight cover, it wouldn't change the fact that Bella is white.
Stephenie Meyer had Bella describe what she looks like so it's not like we don't know that she's white. People who read the Hunger Games, you know that Rue and Thresh aren't white. They don't necassarily need to be seen as black but they are, for a fact, of color. Keeping that in mind, a lot of people on twitter and around the interwebs were shocked when actors to play the parts of Rue and Thresh respectively were picked. Some people had said that they thought both of the characters were supposed to be white...and that's another side effect of the lack of diversity in YA, not just on covers but in the books themselves.
Now, as a writer, I'm not saying that all writers should try to diversify their projects. I'm not saying that they should try to write a main character that is a different ethnicity then they are but...I am saying that change has to start somewhere. I don't have any problem with writing characters who come from a different ethnic background then I do. It's important to me because as a 'minority', I know what it's like to be snubbed in the media. You have to admit - there aren't a lot of non-white actors and actresses in any of the upcoming tv shows or movies. Sure there are a few but a few isn't enough.
It shouldn't be enough.
I don't know about other countries but America really needs to step up when it comes to things like incorporating diversity in all aspects of the media. America isn't just comprized of one group of people but sometimes it feels like it is.
Like I said before, I'm not asking anyone to stop what they're doing and start writing a book that has a character who is from a different ethnic background, but I do want to know...what makes people stray away from not writing a diverse cast of characters?
Do people not think it's important?
I think it's really important because the diversity of a YA book is contingent on the kind of cover the book has. That said - we need to see more non-white people on covers. Not just a few, not just one or two every once in a while, we need more. A LOT more. Because people need to get used to reading about non-white characters, they need to not be shocked when (if there is a movie adaptation of the book) an actor in the movie is not white. We need to eliminate the mindset that lots of people have when reading a book that if the character isn't described to be another ethnic background, then that automatically makes them white. Not only that but we need to bridge the gaps between readers, because at the end of the day, they're the ones who count.
These covers are insanely beautiful. But...I'm tired.

As a writer, as a reader, as a black teen, I am sooo tired.
If the 'pretty dress' trend is here to stay, give me a book where the girl wearing the dress is of color. Give me a book where the girl who saves the world Katniss-style is not white. Give me more books with male main characters. I mean seriously...YA shouldn't be all about girls.
It also shouldn't satisfy only one group of readers.
It should, however, reflect the kind of world that we live in, and at the moment, it doesn't.