MONTHLY UPDATE: September 2018

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~ LIFE IN GENERAL ~

 

Yet another crazy-busy month has passed! I can’t believe we’re now ¾ of the way through the year!! My poor old dog has been unwell the last few weeks, and the whole family has been playing nursemaid—it’s so upsetting when your pets are sick 😢 Other life highlights and key milestones this September have been:

  • managing to epically procrastinate on 100% of my university assignments in favour of reading, writing and working on my blog
  • finishing my website makeover, including updates to my Home page (let me know what you think!)
  • reading a heck of a lot and already completing my Goodreads Reading Challenge (should I adjust my goal now?)
  • reaching 600 followers on Twitter (how on earth did this happen?! 😍)

 

 

~ WRITING PROGRESS ~

 

Holding Up the Sky

 

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Another two-and-a-bit chapters down on my contemporary YA novel Holding Up the Sky this month! This included some serious scene revisions…with some serious scene cutting to come. But this is a good thing! I think I’m actually getting the hang of this editing business, and draft 3 is shaping up to be a MILLION times better than draft 2. I’ve also decided to drop my word count target from 90k to 85k (and perhaps even lower), so I’m not almost at 50%! You can keep track of my live update on the Holding Up the Sky blurb & progress page, and you can also read Chapter 1 here!!

STATUS: writing draft #3

WORD COUNT: 40,350 / 85,000 (47.5%)

 

 

Blood of Old (Graceborn #1)

 

Blood of Old (1)

You guessed it—more world building happened for my WIP fantasy series Graceborn this month!! I must admit, I wasn’t aware of how much pantsing I did while writing the first draft of Blood of Old, the series’ first installment. Given it’s supposed to be an epic fantasy, I’ve decided to invest a good amount of time in the world building before pursuing the second draft (which will probably start in December at this stage). I actually got a stack done in the last few weeks, and finally finished creating my map (see below)!! In the meantime, you can check out a few excerpts from Blood of Old here and here.

STATUS: conducting first-round edits

WORD COUNT: 166,000

 

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~ NEW BLOG POSTS ~

 

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~ BOOKS I READ ~

 

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

 

6547259Who is the Hero of Ages? Tricked into releasing the evil force Ruin from the Well of Ascension, renowned Mistborn Vin and her husband, new emperor Elend Venture, must race against time to save the world. And their only chance of victory may lie in the clues left behind by the tyrannical Lord Ruler…

MY THOUGHTS: I think I might have had several heart attacks while reading thing book!! What an incredible end to an incredible trilogy. The twists and turns didn’t stop until the very end and Sanderson’s world-building was brilliant as always!

GENRE: epic fantasy

SERIES: Mistborn #3

 

 

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

 

25613472When the school psychologist tasks Adam Blake with tracking down a troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, he is ecstatic to be reunited with Julian, the foster brother he hasn’t seen in years. But Julian is keeping secrets, and Adam’s determination to help him could cost both boys their lives…

MY THOUGHTS: Okay, I was expecting this to be dark—but not THAT dark! I gobbled through Adam’s and Julian’s story in a single night (well, early morning), and admire how invested Robin Roe made me feel in both characters. I especially want to give Julian a hug!!

GENRE: contemporary| YA

SERIES: (stand alone)

 

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

 

40499661Kell is one of the last Antari, magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. And once, there was Black London…

MY THOUGHTS: Yep. I definitely see what all the hype is about now! I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and especially adored the relationship between Kell and his adoptive brother, Prince Rhy. Bring on the next book!!

GENRE: high fantasy

SERIES: Shades of Magic #1

 

 

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

 

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Steffi, selective mute, has been silent for so long she feels invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and it doesn’t matter to him that she can’t talk. As they find ways to communicate, Steffi realises that she does have a voice, and she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her brave enough to use it.

MY THOUGHTS: Squeeeeeeeee!! This story was SO CUTE and made me feel all mushy inside. But at the same time it sends some pretty powerful messages about anxiety, disabilities, and the importance of communication, whatever its form.

GENRE: contemporary | YA

SERIES: (stand alone)

 

 

I Had Such Friends by Meg Gatland-Veness

 

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When Charlie Parker dies, it affects everyone who knew him. Everyone, that is, except for seventeen-year-old Hamish Day, the boy who lives on a cabbage farm and only has one friend. But Hamish soon finds himself pulled into the complicated lives of the people left behind, and uncovers startling truths about his peers…and himself.

MY THOUGHTS: Well, my feelings were all jumbled at the end of this one, and I can’t quite decide whether it’s ultimately bleak or hopeful (or both?). As an Aussie, I loved the “Aussieness” of it, and Hamish’s character felt so real.

GENRE: contemporary | YA | LGBT+

SERIES: (stand alone)

 

 

Blood of the Wolf by Holly Evans

 

39281178Eight years ago, Niko endured a forbidden blood ritual that turned him into a “made” wolf shifter. Now, he is given the opportunity to work with a Guardian, one of the goddess’ chosen wolves, to stop a series of murders and save lives. But if the Guardian finds out what Niko really is, then death would be preferable to the torture he’ll endure…

MY THOUGHTS: To be honest, the reason I picked up this one was because the Guardian’s name is Alasdair😂 But I was pleasantly surprised by the story, and was definitely cheering Niko on. After eight years of loneliness and rejection, he deserves all good things! 

GENRE: paranormal | LGBT+

SERIES: Forged in Blood #1

 

 

Broken Accord by Holly Evans

 

39666858The work of a Guardian is never done. Witchlings have been going missing, and to find out why, Niko will have to confront the memories of his childhood. At the same time, he must navigate the treacherous waters of his fledgling relationship with Alasdair, his Guardian partner, which may be the scariest thing of all.

MY THOUGHTS: The plot thickens!! Something is definitely going on in the supernal world, and I loved seeing Niko and Alasdair start to trust each other in order to solve the mystery. They still have a way to go, but I’m looking forward to the next book!

GENRE: paranormal | LGBT+

SERIES: Forged in Blood #2

 

 

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

 

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It has been four months since Kell cast the stone Vitari back into Black London with Holland’s dying body. Now, as Red London prepares for the Element Games, another London comes back to life. But the balance of magic is perilous, and for one city to flourish, another must fall…

MY THOUGHTS: It just gets better and better!! I LOVE the concept of this series, with all its interconnected Londons. Plus, the characters, their development, and their relationships with each other are spectacular in this second instalment!

GENRE: high fantasy

SERIES: Shades of Magic #2

 

 

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

 

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The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, and an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

MY THOUGHTS: If I say I read this book in under 24 hours (despite uni and work), does that indicate how much I enjoyed it? The “ancient enemy” was so creepy, and I loved how the characters had to put their differences aside and work together to prevail. I have to ask: does anyone else have a soft spot for Holland? I definitely cried for him…

GENRE: high fantasy

SERIES: Shades of Magic #3

 

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

 

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The once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness. But when Alina Starkov’s regiment is attacked on the Fold, she reveals a dormant power that saves many lives—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. 

MY THOUGHTS: I’ll admit I didn’t enjoy this as much as Six of Crows, but that doesn’t really surprise. It’s been a while since I read a really YA-y YA high fantasy (if that makes any sense). I do enjoy the Grishaverse though, and find myself quite intrigued by the Darkling…

GENRE: high fantasy | YA

SERIES: The Grisha Trilogy #1

 

 

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

 

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Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long, and she will have to choose between her country, her power, and her love for Mal—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm

MY THOUGHTS: And the plot thickens! Things sure are getting more intense, and I love the addition of Nikolai to the cast of key characters. I’m a bit tired of the lack-of-communication trope like what happened between Alina and Mal here, but otherwise I enjoyed this one.

GENRE: high fantasy | YA

SERIES: The Grisha Trilogy #2

 

 

Fence Vol. 10 by C.S. Pacat

 

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Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing and earn his place on the Kings Row fencing team. It’s the last day of tryouts, and as Nicholas faces off against Seiji once again, he is determined to get his nemesis to focus on him and him alone…

MY THOUGHTS: Aww this last installment of Fence made me SMILE. The rematch didn’t go exactly the way I expected it to, but the way it did was even better! It was amazing to see how far Nicholas has come since volume 1, and I was pleasantly surprised by Seiji’s character development too!

GENRE: comic | YA

SERIES: Fence #10

 

 

~ QUOTE OF THE MONTH ~

 

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It’s a short-and-sweet “Quote of the Month” this time around! I love the simplicity of this quote from Robin Roe’s A List of Cages, and it really brings home the fact that both hate and kindness have lasting consequences, so we should be mindful of how we treat other people. Also, note I did not create the above graphic myself. I can’t figure out exactly where it came from, but this version I found on Jennifer Niven’s website.)

 

 

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Did you make any writing progress this September? Do you make maps for your WIPs? What books did you read and which were your favourite? Tell me everything!

 

 

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Rebecca Alasdair

  One thought on “MONTHLY UPDATE: September 2018

  1. 02/10/2018 at 10:16 AM

    I love this round up post idea. I might have to steal it one day. But I should definitely do book reviews anyway, especially for the indies (then I could post them on Amazon as well) but the days just seem to be whizzing by.

    I’m still procrastinating with my editing 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • 02/10/2018 at 10:42 AM

      Thank you!! End of month posts are something a lot of us writerly / readerly folks do. It’s a great way to reflect and keep each other updated!! I know the feeling with reviews – I’d planned to do some this year but it hasn’t happened. Unfortunately you just have to prioritise sometimes and you can’t do everything 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • 02/10/2018 at 10:48 AM

        I’ve seen similar before. Yours just looks extra good. Sorry to hear about your poorly dog.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 02/10/2018 at 11:59 AM

        Aww thanks 😍 The old pup is doing better now. I swear he’s a cat the number of lives he’s had!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 05/10/2018 at 2:43 PM

    I’m really liking the new layout of your website, Rebecca! I especially like the picture you used for your banner – the one with the boy walking on a book. I love how painterly it is! Also, CAN I JUST SAY that I am in LOVE with the world map you made for Graceborn. How did you make it, because it looks SO GOOD and amazingly detailed! How do you go about naming places in your world? I always have the hardest time naming things, cause everything I pick sounds so stupid haha. Good luck with your WIP and with university in October 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • 05/10/2018 at 5:26 PM

      Thank you so much!! The artwork on the banner is one of my favourites – I got it from Adobe Stock by a user called “grandfailure” and there is HEAPS more where that came from!!

      Regarding the map, I used GIMP, though I put the labels on in MS Word because I couldn’t figure out how to get GIMP to do what I wanted. I used the picture of a piece of parchment to form the background texture and downloaded a couple of map symbol “brushes” from Deviant Art for the terrain features. There are stacks of helpful video tutorials on You Tube if you want to give it a shot yourself!! I’ve had a lot of people ask me about this actually, so I see a “How to” post coming up sometime in the future 😂

      I normally base my place names off actual place names or people names or language translations. For each region I pick a particular culture from our world so the names have a similar sound. For example, “Mykene” is based on Greek words, “Dalaith” on Welsh words. I wonder if you can guess where I got “Finnmark” from…

      Like

  3. zwischenweltlerinblog
    08/10/2018 at 5:02 AM

    I really loved your HOW TO MAKE A MOCK COVER FOR YOUR WIP post!! Mostly because it absolutely helped me and I’ll definitely try to do a cover for my NaNoWriMo WIP with your tips. Fingers crossed that I can make a cover as beautiful as you did with yours. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 08/10/2018 at 8:01 AM

      Thank you so much – I’m glad you found it helpful! Best of luck for your NaNoWriMo project!!

      Liked by 1 person

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