LIFE IN GENERAL
Well I don’t know about you, but my July has been a blast! Not at all productive on the writing front (more on that below), but that was a price I was willing to pay for my first-ever trip to Europe. In summary, some of my “life” highlights and key milestones reached over the course of this month are:
- experiencing my very own Grand Tour of Europe, which saw me travel through 🇬🇧London, 🇫🇷France, 🇨🇭Switzerland, 🇮🇹Italy and 🇩🇪Germany
- publishing my 50th post on this website/blog!!
- starting semester 2 at university, which should (hopefully) be my second-last semester EVER
So it turns out that overseas travel is way more taxing than I expected, so I didn’t do as much work on my contemporary YA novel Holding Up the Sky as I wanted to this month. The good news is, I’ve been on a roll this past week! One more chapter edited/re-written has taken my progress up from 24% to 28%…and at the rate I’m cutting things out it’s highly likely I’ll fall short of my 90,000 word maximum target—which is a VERY good thing! This novel is the first I’ve ever edited beyond proofreading a first draft, and while progress is slow, I find I’ve been learning a lot. While I labour away, please check out Chapter 1 here and let me know what you think!
STATUS: writing draft #3
WORD COUNT: 25,500 / 90,000 (28%)
This month, I’ve continued to tinker with the world-building for Old Blood, the first in my WIP fantasy series. I made a list of what I need to confirm/decide and…well…there’s a lot. To make the process run more smoothly, I went all the way back to the Beginning and wrote the world’s creation story, which has serious implications for both my “magic” system, a couple of MCs, and ultimately the entire plot line of the series. So exciting stuff! I’ve also been working on a new “mock cover” and new blurb/premise that I hope to publish on this website sometime in August. Stay tuned for the announcement, and in the meantime, you can read a special excerpt here.
STATUS: conducting first-round edits
WORD COUNT: 166,000
NEW BLOG POSTS
BOOKS I READ
Sixteen-year-old Nicholas Cox is an outsider to the competitive fencing world. Filled with raw talent but lacking proper training, he signs up for a competition that puts him head-to-head with fencing prodigy Seiji Katayama…and on the road to the elite all-boys school Kings Row.
MY THOUGHTS: I read volumes 1-8 of Fence this month, so I’ll combine them in the one section here. This is the first comic I’ve ever read! I’m loving it so far, mainly because the characters are brilliant, but I wouldn’t expect anything less of C.S. Pacat. Bring on the next volume!
GENRE: comic| YA
SERIES: Fence #1 to #8
Sebastian Hughes is Bloomington High’s star goalie, front-runner for team captain, and has a coach who doesn’t ask him to hide his sexuality. But when his estranged childhood friend Emir shows up to summer training camp, Sebastian realise’s the team’s success may end up in the hands of the one guy who hates him.
MY THOUGHTS: I was a little disappointed with this one TBH. Sebastian was great, and I totally related to the pressure and sky-high self-expectations he felt, but with one or two exceptions I disliked everyone else 😦
GENRE: contemporary| YA | LGBT
SERIES: (stand alone)
The devastating attack on Ilin Illan was just the beginning. Davian and his new allies hurry north towards the ever-weakening Boundary, while Wirr and Asha are drawn into a web of political intrigue. And as more of Caeden’s memories return, he realises that the motivations of the two sides in this ancient war are not as clear-cut as they seem…
MY THOUGHTS: AHHHHHHH THIS BOOOOOOK!!! It has everything I adore in a fantasy: magic, epic battles, powerful hero/villains and the age-old debate of fate vs. freewill. I gobbled this up in, like, 3 days while on the road and literally cannot wait for the conclusion!
GENRE: epic fantasy
SERIES: The Licanius Trilogy #2
Alex Jennings is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in fantastical Medora…and promptly enrolled in a school for gifted teenagers. But Alex is an unwilling pawn in a deadly game: only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?
MY THOUGHTS: After the aforementioned book, I was in dire need of a “light” easy-to-read fantasy, and boy did this one deliver! Alex was sassy, brilliant and brave, and the lack of obvious love-interest (and associated drama) was actually quite refreshing.
GENRE: SFF (portal) | YA
SERIES: The Medoran Chronicles #1
When Alice’s girlfriend dumps her because of her asexuality, Alice decides she is done with dating. But then she meets Takumi. She can’t stop thinking about him, and Alice will have to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that may not be reciprocated—or understood.
MY THOUGHTS: This was the first book I’ve read with an explicitly asexual MC and I LOVED it. Alice was an absolute gem, the side characters were awesome and the frank but heartfelt discussion of asexuality was eye-opening!
GENRE: contemporary | YA | LGBT+
SERIES: (stand alone)
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years pondering the idea of destiny vs. free will. Without going into it too much, I’m of the view that the two are not mutually exclusive, though I often struggle to put it into words in a way that makes sense. Imagine my excitement when I came across this gem in James Islington’s An Echo of Things to Come! The trilogy deals with the free will vs. fate dilemma in a very literal/horrifying/thrilling way, and this particular quote is spoken by one of the MCs while trying to explain that, even if everything is predetermined, individuals are still responsible for their own choices. I love this kind of philosophical depth in fantasy novels!!
Did you travel anywhere new this month? What were your favourite July reads? Tell me about your writing progress (or lack thereof)!