Hello and welcome to my second monthly update in my new(ish) segment UPDATES! My highlights for March 2018 are that I finished the first draft of my fantasy novel Old Blood (still can’t believe it!), created an Instagram account and started using it, read four novels, and unfortunately reacquainted myself with the torture of being an undergraduate university student.
This month, I am starting a new section in my UPDATE post called Quote of the Month. As the name suggests, this is where I will display my favourite quote from all the books I read over the previous 4.5 weeks, and a brief spiel about why I liked it so much. Scroll down to see my first ever Quote of the Month, and share with me what your favourite book quote was this March!
Holding Up the Sky, my contemporary YA novel, has been on hold since early November while I worked on my other WIP. To say it was hard to try and jump back into it mid-March, after months of nothing but fantasy writing, is the understatement of the century! Rather than muddling through and giving only 50% effort, I decided to read a number of books in the same genre to get back in the mood, then give Holding Up the Sky a read itself. It’s done me a world of good, so hopefully I’ll have some proper updates next month! You can read Chapter 1 here.
STATUS: writing draft #3
WORD COUNT: 8,200 / 90,000 (~9%)
THE FIRST DRAFT OF Old Blood IS DONE!! After literally 5 years of planning and re-planning, 252 days of solid writing, and just over 166,000 typed words, I’ve finally finished writing the damn book! One of the first things I did—after dancing around in a circle, of course—was to convert the novel into a ePub file and read the whole thing through. I forced myself not to edit, but to just take notes about world-building aspects that need more work. Now I’m taking a ~2 month break before making a start on draft #2 (oh the temptation to look at it!). You can read a special excerpt here.
STATUS: completed draft #1
WORD COUNT: 166,000
BOOKS I READ
Ringil Eskiath may no longer be the same man who entered the Grey Places to rescue his cousin, but he might just be the hero the world now needs. There is corruption at the heart of the empire, an uncanny machine has fallen from orbit, and the demonic Aldrain rally to their ancient leader, and prepare attack in force.
MY THOUGHTS: Oh god, this series! I can’t even! Ringil is without a doubt the most complex, flawed “hero” character I’ve ever read, and I can’t get enough of his story. Richard Morgan’s writing style yet again left me gaping in horror and awe and wonder.
GENRE: epic fantasy | LGBT
SERIES: A Land Fit For Heroes #2
Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos is tired, lonely and scared. Torn between his Greek heritage, his parents’ expectations, and the dreams he doesn’t dare utter, he’s also struggling to deal with his mother’s escalating abuse. The last thing he needs is this growing attraction to his best friend Henry…
MY THOUGHTS: This story was kinda heartbreaking 😥 I really felt Evan’s isolation and confusion, and enjoyed watching him grow as a person / character. Would have liked a bit more resolution with a particular mother, though. But kudos to the #OwnVoices author!
GENRE: contemporary | YA | LGBT
SERIES: (stand alone)
Renzy Callen hasn’t uttered a word in over ten years, living his life like a spectator, always watching others from the outside. But everything changes when the worldly Moreau-Maddox twins encroach on his quiet existence, and the terrible secrets surrounding Renzy’s mutism finally come to light.
MY THOUGHTS: I adored this beautiful story about three beautiful (but damaged) teenagers. It delivered such great messages about the strength of non-verbal communication, and the importance of being true to oneself. I had to force myself not to read it during class!
GENRE: contemporary | YA | LGBT
SERIES: (stand alone)
With her boyfriend locked in wolf form, her brother locked in a cell, and her own curse pulsing deep inside her, Grace Divine will require all of her strength and faith to defeat Caleb and his pack of demons. If she fails, Grace will lose her family, her hometown…everything.
MY THOUGHTS: I probably should have read this seven years ago, when I read the first two books in the series. Kid you not, that’s how long it’s been in my TBR pile. It was still a fitting end to a unique paranormal YA trilogy, but I think seventeen-year-old me would have appreciated it more.
GENRE: paranormal | YA
SERIES: The Dark Divine #3
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
This one just sends a chill down my spine every time I read it. Even without the context of the scene it comes from. Even without considering what’s going on in the book at the time. The rise of slavery in the decade since the war against the Scaled Folk, and particularly MC Ringil’s hatred of it, is one of the recurring themes in The Cold Commands and its predecessor, The Steel Remains. I won’t give away who actually says the line in this quote, but it seriously brought a tear to my eye and stayed with me for days and days afterwards.
LIFE IN GENERAL
I’ve been a bit of a homebody this month (not that that’s unusual for me), spending quite literally 99% of my time at home, at uni or at work. But some of the other things I have achieved, aside from those above, include:
- creating an Instagram account
- reaching 100 followers on Twitter
- seeing an advanced screening of Love, Simon and almost dying of happiness
- consuming far too many chocolate hot cross buns
- having a mental implosion last Saturday and going on a shopping spree where I bought $110 worth of books, a sleeveless hoodie, a very large chocolate and strawberry crepe, and a stunningly beautiful teapot (below) from T2
The university year is also well and truly back in full swing and I have been desperately juggling my gazillion-and-one group projects with my writing and reading pursuits. Going back to undergrad engineering after a year of honours for science (I know, I’m a nerd and a glutton for punishment) has been way tougher than I expected. But I’m sure it’ll be worth it in the end!
What progress did you make with your writing this month? Did you read any good books? What is your Quote of the Month?